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.
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
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Pittsfield Fire Victim Flown to Mass General With Severe Burns
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man is in critical condition after being rescued by firefighters from a burning second-floor apartment on Friday.
The victim was found suffering from severe burns in a room next to the kitchen where the fire started in Apartment 4 at 483 Peck's Road. He was taken to Berkshire Medical Center by Action Ambulance and later flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The blaze in the six-unit structure was reported at about noontime. Brown smoke was reported coming from the eaves of the building and a hose was stretched to the second floor apartment to extinguish the kitchen fire. Crews from Engines 3 and 5 entered the building and found the victim. Personnel from Engine 1 did a primary search of the structure for any other individuals and to determine the extent of the fire.
The fire damage was largely confined to single apartment but the occupant of the unit underneath on the first floor was displaced. Red Cross was contacted to assist the person. The rest of the building suffered degrees of smoke damage.
The temporary shelter set up at the former St. Joseph's School to comply with pandemic restrictions was closed in July, leading to many of the shelter's occupants camping in Springside Park.
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Mayor Linda Tyer pitched this program back in 2019 to help eligible residents improve their homes. This program would provide zero-interest loans to residents for undertaking certain home improvement projects in an effort to improve the housing stock in the city.
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Mayor Linda Tyer this week said the city of Pittsfield is feeling discouraged from the lack of community organizations willing to host a warming shelter that will house homeless individuals during the hours that the St. Joseph's temporary winter shelter on Maplewood Avenue is closed. click for more
This has been a long-standing tradition between the sheriff's office and the Christian Center. For the last decade, staff and inmates at the Berkshire County House of Corrections have prepared Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of people at the center under the guidance of Food Service Director... click for more