PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer said Friday that with the beginning of Phase 2 likely to start Monday, the city is focused on reopening.
"The public health data continues to trend in the right direction and that is the result of everybody doing their part to keep themselves and others safe," the mayor said during her weekly COVID-19 update on Pittsfield Community Television.
The city has seen 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five deaths; the number of active cases is now 31. Berkshire Medical Center currently has five patients.
Tyer said the city is doing its part to prepare businesses that will be allowed to open in this next phase with limitations and specifications. She said hotels, retail stores, various schools, some personnel services, funeral homes, child care, and restaurants among others will be able to open to different degrees.
Restaurants would specifically be able to open with outdoor seating and Tyer said the city's Health Department has been working with restaurants to accommodate this.
"There is tremendous interest in utilizing outdoor spaces such as sidewalks and private parking lots for outdoor dining," she said.
The mayor signed a local order on Friday that would streamline the process of setting up outdoor dining spaces.
She said city parks will also reopen and sports programming will be allowed to continue but only practice.
She said there are plans to open up city buildings July 20 and the Berkshire Athenaeum has resumed offering curbside pickups.
While the library building remains closed to the public, patrons now have the opportunity to request and safely pick up library items. Books, audio books, movies, and music are available for curbside pickup service. Materials can be reserved online through website or calling or emailing and patrons will be notified when they are ready for pickup. No more than five articles per one pickup a day, and no more than three pickups a week.
Tyer said applications for the city's COVID-19 relief and recovery program also are now available.
"This program will provide financial assistance to residents, small businesses, and community organizations who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19," she said.
The city received $900,000 in Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money to help cover some costs associated with the effects of the novel coronavirus.
"This will help preserve local tax dollars and our ability to manage cash flow," Tyer said.
She said some of this money went toward the purchase of Chromebooks for remote learning and that the city will make more requests in the future.
Under normal circumstances, she said, this would have been graduation week and that hasn't changed, although the graduations will be virtual ceremonies that will air Sunday on PCTV at 1 and 2 p.m.
"Congratulations graduates you have reached one of life's milestones and you are making your way into the world," Tyer said. "Go be awesome."
Before closing, she called back to the past week's protests over police violence and the death of George Floyd and asked residents to reflect on what the new normal should look like.
"The days and weeks ahead continue to move us toward our new normal, and while we work to adjust to this new way of living there are many things in our community that we should never become comfortable with," she said. "This is a time to define a better community for all of us. Let's stand together and seize the moment."
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The fiberglass dinosaur was refurbished by the studio that created him more than 50 years ago. See more photos here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — He's large, he's prehistoric, and he is back home at the Berkshire Museum.
Wally the 1,200-pound, life-sized fiberglass Stegosaurus was crane-lifted to the museum's lawn on Monday after a yearlong hiatus for some rest and recuperation. During this time, he received a full inspection, tail restoration, surface crack repairs, and a new paint job.
The beloved Pittsfield hallmark of 24 years now sits on the left side of the museum's front lawn. He previously lived on the right side of the lawn.
"That's been our No. 1 question this whole time is 'Where's Wally?'" the museum's marketing and brand manager Kimberly Donoughe said. "Everybody wants to know where Wally is."
In April 2020, he made the journey back to his birthplace — Louis Paul Jonas Studios — down Route 7 South through Pittsfield, Lenox, Stockbridge, and Great Barrington before crossing the border to New York. The museum published Wally's route and estimated travel times so that fans could get a glimpse of the local celebrity in his travels.
A 2020 report issued by State Auditor Suzanne Bump revealed that the commonwealth's payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program for state-owned lands (SOL) is underfunded and negatively affects smaller rural communities in Western Mass compared to larger, wealthier communities in the eastern part of... click for more