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."
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
MCLA Considering Temporary Homeless Housing on Campus
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is considering turning the vacant Berkshire Towers dorm into a temporary homeless shelter.
President James Birge said on Friday that the college is considering a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development that would supply needed housing for 50 homeless families.
"I look at the mission of the institution, and we talk about educating students to be responsible citizens," Birge said. "I think this models that mission."
Birge said residents would be mostly younger families. He assumed 50 families would generate 25 school-aged children in the Berkshire Towers.
The 26-foot steel structure's poor condition is well known and it was listed with 19 other bridges in the Berkshires requiring repairs or replacement using funding from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
click for more