NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — City Hall and other public buildings are set to reopen on June 1, more than a year after the building was closed for pandemic precautions.
Mayor Thomas Bernard said the administration had been making plans to loosen restrictions and was ready when the state's new guidance was announced on Monday by Gov. Charlie Baker.
Baker said the state will be lifting all capacity limits as of May 29, with some exceptions for continued face covering indoors, and has targeted June 15 for ending the state of emergency.
The state Department of Public Health will issue a public health advisory effective May 29 that advises all unvaccinated residents to continue to wear face-coverings in indoor settings and when they can't socially distance. The advisory will also recommend fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a face covering or social distance indoors or outdoors except for in certain situations. Residents are asked to continue to comply with private and organizational requests for masking and social distancing as a level of comfort and respect.
Bernard said the city will follow the state and U.S. Centers of Disease Control mask guidance: unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear face-coverings in indoor settings including all city buildings and when they can't socially distance. Following reopening, anyone who has concerns about their personal health should feel welcome and supported in continuing to wear a mask when interacting with the public or with city staff, he said.
"Like many people in our community I have mixed emotions about this lifting of restrictions and return to standard operations. I still will be watching public health data carefully and working with the Health Department and Board of Health to review operations and make adjustments in response to local conditions," the mayor said. "Overall, though, my overwhelming response is one of immense gratitude for the team working in City Hall, and throughout the city, and for all the members of our community who have played a part in our public health response, including first responders and our professional educators and school employees."
City Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 to 1 on Friday through Sept. 3.
Following public reopening of City Hall, staff remain available to the public by phone and email, and members of the public are encouraged to continue scheduling appointments to minimize wait times and delays. For convenience and safety, payments will continue to be accepted by mail, online at www.northadams-ma.gov or may be dropped off in the secure drop boxes installed at each entrance to City Hall. For questions regarding payments, contact the Treasurer's Office at 413-662-3000, Ext. 3044, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The central office for North Adams Public Schools, located on the second floor of City Hall, will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday until June 11. After this date, the central office will be open for summer hours from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8 to 1 on Fridays until Sept. 1.
The North Adams Public Library also will reopen with regular hours on June 1. Appointments will no longer be required for in-person browsing, borrowing, and timed computer use. Group meetings and gatherings and other uses, including extended visitation, still will not be permitted for the time being.
The Mary Spitzer Senior Center will continue to offer limited hours and programming by appointment and reservation, with plans to reopen fully later in the summer following the completion of planned renovations to the senior center building.
"These past 15 months have been incredibly challenging. I thank you all for rising to the many challenges we have faced together, and I look forward to seeing members of our community around the city as we carefully and cautiously return to the rhythms and routines of summer in North Adams and the Northern Berkshires," Bernard said "Finally, if you have not already been vaccinated, I encourage you to do so."
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BOSTON — The governor is proposing a two-month-long sales tax holiday this year as a way to support local economies and that would put an estimated $900 million back into residents' pockets.
A sales tax holiday is already on the books for Aug. 14-16, a weekend of tax relief in August that's now a law in the state at this point. The Baker-Polito administration filed legislation on Wednesday to expand the sales tax holiday to the entire months of August and September.
"A two-month sales tax holiday will provide a boost to Massachusetts' taxpayers and Main Street economies as we continue to recover from COVID-19," said Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday in a statement. "Massachusetts' economic recovery is off to a good start, but it's crucial that the commonwealth takes action now to spur more economic activity in communities and support taxpayers. Thanks to stronger than expected tax revenues, the commonwealth has managed to grow the rainy day fund to a balance higher than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, and we can also afford to return these tax dollars to our residents and small businesses."
State tax revenues for fiscal 2021, he said, continues to "significantly exceed projections." Sales tax revenues to date are 14.9 percent above benchmark and revenues across the board means the state is poised to end the fiscal year with a significant surplus.
The commission granted Chairman Jeff Naughton and Administrative Officer Angie Ellison permission last week to begin reviewing applications for both a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and a new airport manager.
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