Information & Resources Regarding COVID-19 in the Berkshires updated 7/6/20
As cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to spread worldwide and throughout the United States, including Massachusetts, we continue to monitor the situation and will provide informational updates.
Current Reopening Phase: Phase 3- Step 1
Reopening Massachusetts– the official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ reopening plan.
Reopening Massachusetts Report – View and download the Commonwealth’s report on reopening the economy.
Reopening: When Can My Business Open? – Visit this link to learn more from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts about the different phases of reopening, and which types of businesses can reopen during each phase. This resource will be updated from time to time as the situation allows.
Reopening: Four-Phase Approach – Visit this link for information about the four phase approach to reopening the Commonwealth’s economy.
- Create a Control Plan. This Control Plan does not need to be submitted to the State but must remain on file in case of any employee or customer complaints to the local board of health
- Compliance Attestation Businesses must attest that they have completed a control plan, and post it on premises
- Employer and Worker posters must be posted. Describe social distancing rules and protocols for hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting
- Mandatory safety standards for all workplaces apply to all MA businesses
- Sector-specific protocols
- Under each Sector review your circulars and checklists on How to adjust operations for public safety
As an employer, you must:
- Require masks and coverings for all employees
- Provide handwashing supplies and capabilities
- Sanitize high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site
- Additional mandatory workplace safety standards can be found here
- As an employee, you must wear a face covering or mask at your workplace
- Southern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee announced starting this week any private, non-profit or non-governmental organizations that are requesting PPE supplies should follow this new process: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In the email include:
- Agency Information
- Contact Person
- Staff Size
- Specific items, including sizes and quantities
- Burn rate of the items (requests should be limited to enough for 7 days)
- Address they want it shipped
- In the email include:
- Complete List of Emergency Orders & Guidance
- Effective August 1, 2020, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must follow new travel orders.Under the order, everyone coming to the state must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a state where the coronavirus risk is lower or they can produce a negative Covid-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts. Individuals who get a test must remain in quarantine until they receive their negative test results. Failure to comply may result in a $500.00 per day fine. Prior to the effective date, the existing travel policy can be found here.All persons are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Massachusetts Visitor Self Quarantine Instructions
- On July 22, 2020 Governor Baker extended the pause on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days, until October 17, 2020, through the authority granted to the governor by Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency, which was signed into law on April 20, 2020.
Small business and residential tenants are strongly encouraged to continue to pay rent, and homeowners to make their mortgage payments, to the extent they are able. To assist low-income households in making rent and mortgage payments, as well as support landlords needing these rent payments to pay expenses, the Baker-Polito Administration launched a new $20 million, statewide fund, the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program, on July 1st. Please ensure businesses in your communities are aware of this news and resource.
On July 20, 2020, Governor Baker signed a bill that will allow restaurants to sell sealed containers of mixed drinks with delivery or takeout food orders. This law follows a law signed in April which allows restaurants to sell beer and wine with takeout or delivery. Mixed drinks must be sold in sealed containers and customers will be limited to 64 ounces of mixed drinks per transaction. Read the law here.
- On July 2, 2020, Gov. Baker announced Phase III of the state’s gradual reopening will begin on Monday, July 6th. Phase III, like Phase II, will be implemented in steps. He also said it would last longer than Phase II so officials “can closely monitor the impact” of the new steps. And he announced updated guidelines on indoor and outdoor gatherings. For the City of Boston, Phase III and the gatherings order will take effect on Monday, July 13. He urged people to be vigilant and continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, wash their hands, and stay home if they’re sick.
- On June 30, 2020, Governor Baker issued gave a Travel Update: All travelers arriving to Massachusetts – including Massachusetts residents returning home – are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days, except that, beginning July 1, 2020, travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey arriving in Massachusetts are exempt from this directive and need not self-quarantine for 14 days. In addition, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are exempt from the directive to self-quarantine for 14 days if traveling to Massachusetts for work purposes. All persons are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
Massachusetts Visitor Self Quarantine Instructions
- Phase 3 of the Reopening has been delayed until July 6, at the earliest.
- Phase 3 businesses and organizations include:
- Fitness centers and health clubs (including yoga studios and pools)
- Movie theaters
- Performing arts venues
- Overnight camps
- Indoor and outdoor sports programs
- Indoor historic sites
- Restaurant and Lodging Guidance: The Administration on June 6th issued workplace safety standards for restaurants and lodging. These workplace specific safety standards are organized around four distinct categories covering Social Distancing, Hygiene Protocols, Staffing and Operations and Cleaning and Disinfecting.
- Restaurants: Outdoor dining will begin at the start of Phase II. Indoor dining will begin later within Phase II, subject to public health data. Even when indoor seating is permitted, use of outdoor space will be encouraged for all restaurants. For full restaurant guidance, click here.
- Lodging: Hotels, motels and other lodging businesses will be allowed to expand their operations in Phase II. Lodging safety standards apply to all forms of lodging including hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, short term residential rentals including Airbnb and VRBO. For full lodging guidance, click here.
- On May 18th, the Baker-Polito Administration released Reopening Massachusetts, the Reopening Advisory Board’s report, which details a four-phased strategy to responsibly reopen businesses and activities while continuing to fight COVID-19.
- One June 1, 2020 Governor Baker issued an Executive Order that provides a detailed list of businesses and activities that fall into Phases II, III, and IV of the Commonwealth’s Re-Opening Plan. The Order also permits all Phase II enterprises, including retail, to begin preparations to safely resume operation in advance of the start of the second phase. In addition to the retail sector, the Executive Order details further requirements for the safe resumption of amateur youth and adult sports and outdoor dining.
Effective immediately, the Executive Order permits Phase II businesses to reopen their physical workplaces to workers only to conduct necessary preparations prior to the start of Phase II. Preparations include but are not limited to completing a COVID-19 Control Plan, implementing sector-specific protocols, and complying with Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards. For Reopening Phase II Executive Order, For Childcare Provider Reopening Order,
- The Governor announced on May 29, 2020 that restaurants could resume outdoor dining when Phase 2 of his plan begins and add indoor dining with restrictions later in Phase 2. Hotels could also begin welcoming guests when Phase 2 begins. On May 18th, Governor Baker announced new reopening guidelines. Reopening Massachusetts
- On May 1, 2020 Governor Baker issued an order requiring the use of masks or face coverings in public situations when appropriate social distancing measures are not possible. ORDER | GUIDANCE
- On April 28, 2020 Governor Baker announced all Non-essential businesses and organizations must stay shuttered and Massachusetts residents should stay at home to May 18th. An order to limit all gatherings to 10 people or less was also being extended to May 18th. He stressed that essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, and gas stations, would remain open. Liquor stores, hardware stores, auto repair shops, and pet supply stores can also continue to operate, and restaurants can continue to provide take-out or delivery service. Click here for the essential services extension order.
- On April 22, Governor Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools through the end of the school year, and the closure of all non-emergency child care programs until June 29, 2020 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.
- MA Department of Public Health Advisory Regarding Face Coverings and Cloth Masks (4/10/20). Read this advisory for information about the Department of Public Health’s guidance for making and wearing a mask in public places like grocery stores and pharmacies.
- On April 7, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order regarding grocery store operations and occupancy limits. (See the Order)
- On March 31, Baker announced that hotels, motels and online services such as Airbnb are now only permitted to offer rooms for “limited purposes” including “direct efforts related to the fight against COVID-19.” He cited as an example for healthcare workers and state residents displaced from their homes as a result of the virus. Hotel/Motel Guidance
- On March 24, Governor Baker asks all travelers arriving in Mass to self-isolate. “Would-be visitors to Massachusetts should stay home, and anyone who must come to the state from elsewhere should self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.” Electronic road signs will be placed along the Massachusetts Turnpike, Interstate 84 and other major highways, especially toward the south, where New York has emerged as the national epicenter of the coronavirus. Commuters who cross into Massachusetts for work will still be allowed to come. Click here for Stay at Home Advisory
Hotlines & Text Alerts
- Stay informed -Call 2-1-1 and choose the “CALLTOTALK” option
- Text Alerts – Text “COVIDMA” to 888-777 to receive COVID-19 text message alerts straight to your phone and stay up to date with the latest news + updates from the Commonwealth.
- MEMA’s Emergency Operations Center’s Private Sector Hotline: 508-820-2094 (M–F, 8AM – 4PM)
- Berkshire Medical Center toll-free hotline for questions/concerns: 855-BMC-LINK – or – 855-262-5465 (7 days/week, 7AM – 7PM)
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: 617-983-6800 (24-hour emergency hotline)
Commonwealth of Mass Resources & Federal/International Resources
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
- Mass Department of Public Health
- Emergency Childcare Site
- CDC: 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- World Health Organization: Coronavirus
- US Travel Association – Emergency Preparedness and Response: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Berkshire Health Systems Community Nutrition Support
- Emergency Food Map
- Berkshire South Regional Community Center announces Nourishing Neighbors, a new supplemental community meal program running for eight weeks and beginning today, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Through Nourishing Neighbors Berkshire South will distribute 500 restaurant-prepared cold to-go meals each Wednesday from 1-3 p.m. with the help of a volunteer team. Meal recipients will drive up to a non-contact distribution system in the circle of the front lot at the community center.
- United Methodist Church, 6 Holmes Road, (behind NBT Bank) The Food Pantry is a cooperative effort on the part of all the area churches of Lenox; St. Ann’s, St. Helena’s, United Church of Christ (Church on the Hill), Trinity Episcopal, United Methodist Church of Lenox and St. Vincent de Paul. Saturdays from 10am to 11am
- Lee Food Pantry: 45 Railroad St., Lee. Serves people in Becket, Lee, Lenox Dale, Otis, Stockbridge, Tyringham and West Stockbridge,
Saturdays from 10am to noon, 413-266-1141, website
- Berkshire Hills Regional School District Meals & Pickup Locations
- Meals on Wheels is still running. Please call Elder Services of Berkshire County at 413-499-0524 for more information.
- 1 Berkshire has a countywide Eat Local Food takeout list
- Eat Berkshires offers a list of restaurants that are serving take out orders
- First Congregational Church Stockbridge, Open Table provides well-prepared, healthy meals to the Stockbridge area for whoever wants or needs them.
- EANE Q&A Regarding Essential and Non-Essential Businesses
- If you have a business that was impacted by coronavirus, please visit Mass. Covid-19 available resources.
- Small Business Relief Options and Funding Programs (EIDL loans, Payroll Protection Program, SBA Express Bridge Loans)
- Unemployment Assistance & COVID-19
- The team at 1Berkshire is monitoring developments and official guidance, and will continue to gather informational resources to share with our business community as we navigate these uncharted waters. We will use this page to provide updated information, useful links, resources, tips, and best practices for all of us living and working in the Berkshires. Please check back regularly for updated information.
- LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Massachusetts
- LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Nationwide
- $5K Save the Small Business Fund
Grant for businesses that have have 3-20 employees and are in an economically distressed zip codes. Applications open Monday, April 20th.
Here is the link in English: https://savesmallbusiness.com/
And in Spanish: https://savesmallbusiness.com/spanish
- National Restaurant Association Relief Fund
- US Bartenders Guild (USBG) National Charity Foundation
- Business Webinars
- There is a US Chamber of Commerce webinar that happens every Friday at noon ET. You will have to download an app for Microsoft Meeting so you may want to do that on your phone an hour before, you can register at: LINK
Non-Profits & Arts
- Initial Analysis of the CARES Act – National Council of Nonprofits
- Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide & Checklist
- Mass Cultural Council
- Mass Cultural Council COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals
- Covid-19 Relief Effort for Cultural Organizations – Learn about existing and upcoming resources for Cultural Investment Portfolio organizations as well as all cultural nonprofits.
Explore The Berkshires Virtually
We all need a break from the news, so why not take some time to virtually explore what the Berkshires has to offer? Discover cultural experiences, outdoor fun and more, all with a click of the button
Homebound Fun & Cabin Fever Survival
Check out 1Berkshires collection of fun and entertaining ways to survive social distancing and homebound jitters.
- Practice good hygiene
- Wash hands often. Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid close contact. Practice social distancing (at least 6 feet).
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and areas.
- Avoid meetings & travel
- Use video and phone conferencing options when possible.
- Postpone large meetings, gatherings, and events.
- Assess the risks of business travel.
- Stay home if…
- If you feel sick, stay home.
- If your immediate family feels sick, stay home.
- Give sick family members their own room, if possible, and have only one family member care for them. Consider providing additional protections for household members who are 65 years or older, or who have underlying conditions. Limit visitors.
- Stay calm & prepare
- Stay calm. Know the signs and symptoms. Follow official resources to stay informed.
- Consider stocking up on 30-day supply of prescriptions, plus non-perishable foods and toiletries. Please refrain from wiping out store shelves. The entire community can prepare.
- Establish plans to telework, arrangements for childcare, ways to communicate with family and friends, and how to adapt to cancelled events.
- Check in on neighbors and friends, especially people who live alone.