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Pittsfield Suspends Table Service, Reins in Activities as COVID Cases Surge

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has suspended all indoor dining and shifting back the Step 1 of Phase 3 in the state reopening process after a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Since Oct. 22, there have been 169 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city. These cases have been directly attributed to large get-togethers in restaurants and large private gatherings held in residences and attended by individuals from multiple households.

"We have reached a point of crisis in our city that impacts our entire community. The number of COVID-19 cases have grown exponentially over a very short period of time," said Mayor Linda Tyer said in a statement. "Based on our current case rates and using the state's new calculations to determine risk, Pittsfield has moved into the red category, making us a high-risk community. We need to take aggressive action now to get us back on the right course and reverse this alarming trend."

On Thursday, the Pittsfield's COVID-19 Task Force identified several immediate actions to slow the spread of the virus in the city because of the number of new positive COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Pittsfield. There are also growing levels of concern for the potential of further community spread. 

Beginning Friday, Nov. 13, the following actions will take effect:

Today, Thursday Nov. 12, Pittsfield Board of Health issued an emergency order suspending table service at city restaurants until further notice.

• Local eateries will still be allowed to provide take-out and delivery service. Patrons should feel free to utilize the city's temporary "grab-and-go" zones for food pickup, which were installed this past spring throughout the downtown. These designated areas offer free and time limited space to allow for quick customer turnover and social distancing.

• Pittsfield Public Schools will transition to all-remote learning through Friday, Dec. 4.  Current elementary, middle, and high school schedules will be followed.

• Meals will be available tomorrow for children 18 and under. They can be picked up


between 11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. at the following sites:

Conte Community School, 200 W. Union St.
Morningside Community School, 100 Burbank St.
Allendale Elementary School, 180 Connecticut Ave.
Egremont Elementary School, 84 Egremont Ave.

For more information, visit pittsfield.net.

The Board of Health is issuing an emergency order to shift to Step 1 of Phase 3, which means reduced indoor capacity for all venues and closing of fitting rooms. 

  • Indoor gatherings at private residences is 10.
  • Outdoor gathering limit for private residences is 25 people.
  • Indoor gatherings at event venues and other public spaces is 25.
  • Now that Pittsfield is high-risk, outdoor gatherings are now reduced to 50.

For more information on sector specific guidance, visit www.mass.gov/reopening.

Municipal buildings will be closed to the general public. Community members can visit the city‘s website, www.cityofpittsfield.org, to manage their business needs.


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Pittsfield Gets 475K for Second Installment of Block Grant Funds

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield received its second allocation of Community Development Block Grants in the amount of $475,103.00.

The federally funded program is designed to help small cities and towns meet a broad range of community development needs.

In total, the city has received $1,264,444. The first allocation was accepted by the City Council on April 28, 2020. These two allocations are separate and in addition to the city's annual entitlement allocation.

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, Mayor Linda Tyer submitted an order to amend the CDBG annual Action Plan for the program year 2019-2020 to provide a special allocation of CDBG funds in the amount of $475,103.00.
This $475,103 allocation is proposed to be spent as follows:

  • $325,000 for small business assistance
  • $50,000 for human services
  • $129,000 for rental assistance
  • $50,103 for administration

Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi and Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell questioned the $50,103 that is purposed to be spent in administration. The conversation got slightly heated as Connell questioned Community Development Director Deanna Ruffer on where the administrative costs go.

Connell asked Director of Finance & Administration/Treasurer Matthew Kerwood why salary line items remain the same come budget time when they received CDBG funding, wanting to know where that extra money goes.

He said this has troubled him for some time and that it seems like a black hole that some of these funds are going into. There has to be some decrease in line items for these positions if they receive these administrative costs from the grant, Connell added, because he knows that half of Ruffer and Program Manager Justine Dodds' salaries come from it.

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