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Mayor Announces a Restaurant Rapid Response Grant Program

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer has announced a new relief aid program for Pittsfield restaurants in the wake of the city suspending indoor dining.
 
The Restaurant Rapid Response Grant program will offer up to $5,000 to eligible restaurants to help with rent, mortgage, utilities, payroll, supplies, and inventory.
 
Tyer made the announcement during her COVID-19 update Friday on Pittsfield Community Television telling the community that a second surge of the novel coronavirus had hit the city.
 
"I would love more than to stand before you and share good news but I just can't do that this week," she said. "The number of new COVID-19 cases in our city is beyond alarming, it's frightening.
 
"We are in a serious crisis."
 
In the past week, the city had received a daily report of more than 100 positive COVID-19 cases, an accumulation of test results over several days. On Friday, eight new cases were reported.
 
"What were seeing was completely avoidable," Tyer said. "These cases have been directly attributed to large get-togethers in restaurants and large indoor parties in private homes attended by individuals from multiple households."
 
These get-togethers caused an explosion of cases in the city, the mayor said. In one instance, a single COVID-19 case generated at least 20 other positives.
 
The state of Massachusetts encourages using three reporting periods to determine when communities should step back, but Pittsfield is not waiting and stepped back immediately.
 
"Decisive, aggression action is what is needed right not to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our city," Tyer said.
 
The city's COVID-19 Task force identified several actions that are effective immediately, one of which included a suspension of indoor dining until further notice.
 
Tyer said many cases have been linked to indoor dining and large gatherings, so it is necessary to take a pause on these actions.
 
Though indoor dining is suspended, local eateries are allowed to provide takeout, delivery, and to serve outdoors, which has proved to be very successful during winter spring and summer months, Tyer said.
 
While these shutdowns are necessary, Tyer said she recognizes the tremendous economic impact it will have on Pittsfield restaurants, and thus the emergency grants.  
 
The application form will be available here on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
 
Restaurants wishing to get more information about this program can also contact the city at pittsfieldsmallbusiness@cityofpittsfield.org
 
This grant program is in addition to Pittsfield's COVID-19 Economic Relief and Recovery Small Business Grant program, which has already aided 63 businesses, including 17 restaurants.
 
Tyer noted that there are still funds available for this program, and the city is accepting more applications. More information on this program can be provided by the city's Office of Community Development at cityofpittsfield.org.
 
Additionally, a second Board of Health order will be issued to step back the city of Pittsfield to step 1 of phase 3 of the reopening process.
 
This means that until further notice, the following types of businesses must reduce indoor capacity to 40 percent; outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings are limited to 50 people; and
outdoor theater performance venues may operate at 25 percent capacity with no more than 50 people.
 
Indoor performances are suspended for the time being.
 
For more sector specific guidelines visit www.mass.gov/reopening

Tags: COVID-19,   restaurants,   


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Berkshire Humane Waives Dog Adoption Fees Through Sunday

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Humane Society has waived adoption fees of dogs who are at least one year old from Monday through Sunday this week. 
 
The promotion, called "Mass-Saves," is the first event of a statewide coalition led by MSPCA-Angell. Other shelters in the coalition funded by Best Friends Animal Society include Worcester Animal Rescue League, Boston Animal Control, Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center and Dakin Humane Society. The shelters will work together to improve and save lives of animals.
 
"Shelters throughout the country are experiencing an influx of dogs who are not being adopted right away, taxing the capacity of shelters to care for them," said John Perreault, executive director of Berkshire Humane Society. "We're no different. Due to the economy, we're receiving dogs with medical needs that need to be treated and dogs who need extra attention to address behavioral issues. 
 
"We have many good dogs in the shelter, but it takes resources and time to find them a home. That's why I'm excited to join this statewide team of organizations to address this issue."
 
"The issues facing animal welfare right now are daunting, to say the least," said 
 
Mike Keiley, vice president of animal protection at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell, said, "one of the most pervasive issues we're experiencing, and that's the dog population crisis." According to Keiley, a large and increasing number of homeless dogs need specialized help from behavior experts to adjust to shelter life long enough to find their adoptive homes.
 
"A lot of those dogs really struggle in shelters," Keily explained. "Given that recruiting qualified behavior personnel is just as hard as recruiting veterinary staff, most shelters aren't able to address this challenge alone, and, without that help, it may not be possible to rehome the animals." 
 
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