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North Adams Keeping Eye on Coronavirus Spread

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases but not enough to implement drastic actions being initiated by Pittsfield. 
 
"We're looking at the uptick here, which is modest comparatively, but we want to just really keep the keep our eyes open on all of this," said Mayor Thomas Bernard on Thursday. "We're going to stay with the operations as they stand. Our numbers are low enough."
 
Pittsfield, the county's largest community, has moved all schools to remote and suspended table service at restaurants. The Health Department has issued orders that all venues return to Step 1 of the state's Phase 3 reopening, which means reduced capacity for indoor and outdoor gatherings. 
 
North Adams has remained in the lowest category with eight new cases in the past two weeks and six in the to weeks prior to that for a total of 75 to date. In contrast, the county logged 159 new cases in the past two weeks, the bulk of those in Pittsfield. 
 
"The businesses are doing, by and large, a very good job with with compliance," Bernard said, adding officials have been "hypervigilant" for six months and were now the next level, whatever that would be called. "I think part of the problem with what happened in Pittsfield was these parties that happened."
 
Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer has said a large part of the outbreaks have been traced back to recent parties, including two at local restaurants. A staff member at Reid Middle School as well as a student at Pittsfield High School tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 
 
North Adams had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Drury High School this week and moved all Grade 7 and 8 students to remote learing until Thursday, Nov. 19. Hoosac Valley Regional School District also reported a case but it did not affect the school. Adams and Cheshire have both had fewer than five cases in the last two weeks. 
 
Bernard said the North County COVID-19 operations center, made up of local officials and public health personnel, had a confrence call on Thursday morning. He said one of the things they are nervous about is that if people can't dine in in Pittsfield they may head north. 
 
"I don't want to be unwelcoming or inhospitable, I don't want to put even more burden on our restaurants than already exists for so many of them," he said. "But at the same time, I really hope that the support they see is primarily from people right here in our community."
 
The mayor had expressed his concern at Tuesday's City Council meeting over rising cases in the county and gatherings at the city's outdoor venues. 
 
"One area of particular concern for me and I know it's a concern for for several members of the council and members of the community, especially this past weekend with the unseasonably nice weather with the skate park. We saw large crowds and limited compliance," he said. "I saw it for myself, the Police Department made several visits. But with our young people, the focus really is especially on encouragement rather than draconian enforcement."
 
He made a "pitch for personal responsibility" and asked everyone to continue wearing masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

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Biz Briefs: Big Y Closing Stores for Thanksgiving Holiday

Big Y Giving Workers Two Days Off

Big Y has issued a reminder that it will close all stores including Big Y World Class Markets, Table & Vine and Fresh Acres specialty market on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, as well as Friday Nov. 27. Big Y Express Gas & Convenience locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day as well.
 
Big Y officials say this two-day closing is to thank the thousands of employees for their continued hard work and tenacious efforts throughout the challenges of being an essential service throughout the pandemic and so their employees can rest and spend more time with their families. In addition, the closure will allow time for extra cleaning, restocking and preparations for the remainder of the holiday season.
 
Big Y also closed on Easter Sunday and Monday (April 12 & 13) in order to give its teams some much needed rest. In addition to these days of rest for their employees, Big Y has provided thank-you pay and now thank-you bonuses for front-line workers in recognition of their continued commitment to each other and to their customers.
 
All locations will re-open on Saturday, Nov. 28, for their usual hours. More information can be found on bigy.com.
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