COVID-19 Response2020-07-31T11:30:38-04:00

Information & Resources Regarding COVID-19 in the Berkshires

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.

1Berkshire is currently operating remotely to service the needs of the community during these trying times. Our team is actively engaging with all our major stakeholders to ensure the prosperity of our region. Please feel free to reach out to us at info@1berkshire or call us at (413) 499-1600.

Table of Contents

UPDATED July 31, 2020 – 11:33 AM

Virtual Town Hall

This weekly series focuses on the impacts that the COVID-19 crisis has had on our local economy and community.

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Enjoy a delish lobster roll from Berkshire PalateTakeout & Delivery

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Restaurant List

Homebound Fun

A collection of fun and entertaining ways to survive social distancing. 1B Staff Picks throughout!

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1Berkshire Member Toolbox for COVID-19 Response & Preparedness

As a Member of 1Berkshire, we are here for you. Please use this toolbox containing Guidance from Federal, State & Local Officials to help your business, employees, and clientele. Follow and share these links for up-to-date information.

Berkshire Resources

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Resources

  • Governor Baker’s Emergency Order (3/15/20) – Limit gatherings to 25 individuals (subsequently reduced to 10), prohibit on-premises consumption of food/drink at bars/restaurants, beginning March 17.
    • As of May 18, 2020, the Department of Public Health has issued a Safer-At-Home Advisory. People over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are advised to stay home except for essential errands. All residents are advised to leave home only for healthcare, worship, permitted work, shopping, and outdoor activities. Visit the link above for additional information and restrictions.
    • This order has subsequently been amended by the introduction of Reopening Massachusetts, the Commonwealth’s plan for phased reopening of the economy. As of 6/22/20, Massachusetts is in Phase 2 Step 2 of reopening, which allows indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants and in bars that also have seated food service. Bars that do not serve food are not permitted to reopen until Phase 4, which will occur at a later date depending on ongoing progress against key public health metrics.
  • Governor Baker’s May 1 Order requiring the wearing of masks or face coverings in public places where six feet of distance between people cannot be achieved. Read the order for additional directives. Directions are available from the Centers for Disease Control for construction of a cloth mask or face covering (including sewn and no-sew options).
  • Self-Quarantine Instructions for Travelers to Massachusetts – All travelers to Massachusetts – including Massachusetts residents returning home – are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days, except (as of July 1) travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey arriving in Massachusetts do not need to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Mass.gov COVID-19 Updates and Information page (updated daily).
  • MassGovernor on YouTube – this channel carries live and recorded streams of Governor Baker’s COVID-19 response press updates.
  • FrontlineMA.org, an initiative of the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts, aggregates helpful information and links for frontline workers, including free or discounted meals, PPE access and guidance, self-care resources, and more.
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Federal and International Resources

  • 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. Para recibir alertas de mensajes de texto de la Mancomunidad de Massachusetts, envíe un mensaje de texto con COVIDMAESP al 888-777.
  • MEMA’s Emergency Operations Center’s Private Sector Hotline: 508-820-2094  (M–F8AM – 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)

Note: As of July 11, the EIDL Emergency Advance program has allocated the funding appropriated by Congress, and is no longer being issued. 

Note: As of July 6, the Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications under the authority of the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a PPP loan is August 8, 2020.

Note: As of June 15, the SBA began once again accepting new EIDL and EIDL Advance applications from qualified small businesses. Between 5/5/20 and 6/15/20, new applications were open only to agricultural businesses.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

NOTE: On June 5, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act became law. Among other provisions to make forgiveness criteria easier to meet, this legislation reduces to 60% the percentage of PPP money that must be spent on payroll (previously 75%), allows borrowers 24 weeks to spend the funding (previously 8 weeks), and extends the repayment period to five years (previously two). Read about all of the provisions here

NOTE: As of July 6, the Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications under the authority of the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a PPP Loan is August 8, 2020.  

SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program 

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

Note: As of July 11, the EIDL Emergency Advance program has allocated the funding appropriated by Congress, and is no longer being issued. 

SBA Debt Relief

Guidance for Employers

Massachusetts Resources

Federal and International Resources

Reopening Guidance

Current Reopening Phase: Phase III (Vigilant), Step One – Additional industries resume operations with restrictions and capacity limits.

Note: Effective August 1, 2020, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts – who do not meet an exemption – must follow new travel orders including: completing a travel form, producing a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to arrival, or quarantining for 14 days. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day. Read about the travel order here.

Reopening Massachusetts – The Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive plan to safely reopen the Massachusetts economy, get people back to work, and ease social restrictions while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19.

Federal Guidance

Additional Resources

  • MA Small Biz Reopening Guide – This online resource from the Mass Growth Capital Corp. and Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corps helps businesses navigate available guidance and tools that will help them reopen safely and successfully.

Phase II, Step Two – Effective Monday, June 22

On Friday, June 19, Governor Baker announced that Phase II, Step Two would begin on Monday, June 22. Below is a summary of businesses permitted to reopen and operational modifications already-open businesses will be permitted to make.

  • Restaurants
  • Close Contact Personal Services
    • In addition to barber shops and hair salons (which were permitted to reopen in Phase 2, Step 1), close contact personal services are now permitted to reopen in accordance with state guidance. Close contact personal services are defined as any personal service delivered through close physical contact with the customer, including but not limited to the following: hair removal services; massage and body treatments; nail care services; skin care services; other hair services; makeup salons and makeup application services; personal trainers (by appointment only, with only one customer allowed in the facility at a time); and tanning salons.  See the Workplace Safety Standards guidance and summary checklist for additional information about the standards with which Close Contact Personal services must comply in order to reopen.
  • Offices
    • May resume occupancy of up to 50% (previously 25% as of June 8), but employers are still encouraged to allow employees to work from home. See Office Space Safety Standards.
  • Retail

Phase 2, Step 1 – Restaurants, Lodging, and Retail

Phase III, Step One – Began Monday, July 6 (July 13 in the City of Boston)

New travel order as of August 1: All visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts, who do not meet an exemption, must follow new travel orders including: completing a travel form, producing a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to arrival, or quarantining for 14 days. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day. Learn more here. 

On Thursday, July 2, Governor Baker announced that Phase III, Step One would begin on Monday, July 6. Below are links to sector-specific guidance.

Phase III also offers revisions to the governor’s Gatherings Order:

  • Indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space.
  • Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces are limited to 25 percent of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, with a maximum of 100 people in a single enclosed outdoor space. This includes community events, civic events, sporting events, concerts, conventions, and more. This does no apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social distancing measures are possible.
  • This revised order does not supersede previously-issued sector guidance, and is effective beginning Monday, July 6 (Monday, July 13 in the City of Boston).

Phase III also saw the revision of Public Health Guidance:

  • New guidance has been issued allowing additional health care services and visitation guidelines with the onset of Phase III. Read the updated public health guidance here.
  • Upcoming Webinars:
    • Massachusetts Small Business Development Center – Reopening Business During COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know Wed 8/5 2:00PM.
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Tue 8/25 11:00AM.
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Thu 8/25 11:00AM.
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Tue 9/1 11:00AM.
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Tue 9/3 11:00AM.

Other Relevant Info

Grants and Relief Funds

  • Berkshire County Small Business Recovery Fund – Grants up to $3,000 available on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis to small for-profit businesses that meet the following criteria: had 10 or fewer full-time (or FTE) employees on or prior to March 23, 2020;  physically located in Berkshire County, Massachusetts; operated for at least one year prior to applying; deemed ineligible or turned down due to a lack of available funding by Small Business Administration COVID-19 funding programs including the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance program.
  • WBUR – Grants and Resources for Artists and Nonprofits
  • Facebook Small Business Grants
  • Business For All is offering $10,000 emergency grants.
  • Save Small Business Fund – Beginning April 20, qualifying small businesses can apply for $5,000 grants from the Save Small Business Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. No longer accepting applications at this time.
  • LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Program for MassachusettsNo longer accepting applications at this time. Offering grants up to $10,000 to small businesses in Massachusetts.
  • LISC Small Business Relief Grants – Grants of $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, and $20,000 for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep them functioning and remaining vital facets of their local economies. Priority will be given to entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places. The next round of applications is opens July 27.

Webinars

  • Upcoming Webinars
    • Mass. Small Business Development Center – Resources of Assistance to Start and Grow Your Business Tue 8/4 10:00AM.
    • Mass. Small Business Development Center – Reopening Business During COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know Wed 8/5 2:00PM.
    • Mass. Small Business Development Center – Tax Provisions, Cares Act – Beyond the PPP 8/13 11:00AM.
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Tue 8/25 11:00AM.
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Thu 8/25 11:00AM.
    • Mass. Small Business Development Center – Increasing Efficiencies through Effective Business Systems. Thu 8/27 11:00AM. 
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Tue 9/1 11:00AM.
    • MassMEP – Navigating the Pandemic Training. If you could have a safety consultant walk you through the development of your pandemic control plan and answer your specific questions, would you? If you said yes, you need to listen to this webinar that explains two funding source options for your company to get a significant discount or in one case for free. Tue 9/3 11:00AM.
  • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Halls
    •  1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: The Visitor Economy This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Adam Davis (Managing Director, Shakespeare & Co.), Babara Vacarr (CEO, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health), Joe Thompson (Director, MASS MoCA) and Sarah Eustis (CEO, Main Street Hospitality). Panelists discussed the current state of affairs, the outlook, and the actionable opportunities their organizations are taking in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic event. (recorded 4/17/10)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall : Banking During Covid-19 This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Bob Fraser (President and CEO, MountainOne), Jodi Rathbun-Briggs (Senior Vice President & Chief Lending Officer, Greylock Federal Credit Union), Gary Moynihan (Managing Director, Adelson & Company PC), Dennis Egan, Partner, Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook). Panelists discussed available resources and steps that businesses should be taking to successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. (recorded 5/1/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: Food and Agriculture in the Era of COVID-19 This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Orion Howard (Co-founder and Owner, Bright Ideas Brewing), Nick Martinelli (Founder and Owner of Marty’s Local), Cynthia Pansing (Executive Director, Berkshire Agricultural Ventures), and Jessica Vecchia (Co-Director, Roots Rising). Panelist discussed the local food system is operating during COVID-19, how they have pivoted to meet the needs of the moment, and what the future of food might look like in a post-COVID economy. (recorded 5/8/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: Reopening the Berkshire Economy This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Senator Adam Hinds, Ben Sosne (Executive Director, Berkshire Innovation Center), and Jennifer Trainer Thompson (Executive Director, Hancock Shaker Village). The panel discussed the numbers that matter, budgetary impacts, and tactics and approaches needed to ensure a safe and sustainable reopening of the economic cornerstones of the region. (recorded 5/15/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: Higher Education During COVID-19 This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Dr. Jamie Birge (President, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts), Dr. Ellen Kennedy (President, Berkshire Community College), Dr. Maud Mandel (President of Williams College), and Dr. John Weinstein (Provost-Elect, Bard College at Simon’s Rock). The panel discussed the decisions their institutions are making, the challenges they are facing, and the landscape they face going forward. (recorded 5/22/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: Summer in the Berkshires – Happening! But How? This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Brian Cruey (Director of Southern Berkshires, The Trustees of Reservations), Laurie Norton Moffat (Director & CEO, Norman Rockwell Museum), Mindi Morin (Managing Director, Canyon Ranch Lenox), and Lindsey Schmid (Vice President of Tourism and Marketing, 1Berkshire). (recorded 5/29/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: The Deeper Strains on Community This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Janis Broderick (Executive Director of the Elizabeth Freeman Center), Dr. Barbara Malkas (Superintendent of North Adams Public Schools), Kelly Marion (CEO of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center), and Candace Winkler (President and CEO of Berkshire United Way). The panel discussed impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on organizations the address food insecurity, early childhood care, domestic violence, and K-12 education, and on the populations they serve. (recorded 6/5/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: New Updates to Paid Family Medical Leave This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured William Alpine (Director, Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave), Kevin Kinne (Partner, Cohen Kinne, Valicenti and Cook), and Michele Morin (Vice President of Human Resources and Workforce Development, Hillcrest Educational Centers). The panel discussed changes to the Paid Family Medical Leave Act and how it could impact businesses in the Berkshires as the Act goes into effect. (recorded 6/19/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall: Census 2020 This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured State Representative Paul Mark (Second Berkshire District), Michelle Lopez (Executive Director, Berkshire Immigrant Center), Mark Maloy (GIS, Data, and IT Manager, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission), Erica Girgenti (Director, Adams Council on Aging), and Mark Sebastino (Partnership Specialist, U.S. Census Bureau). The panel discussed why the 2020 Census is conducted, why counting every person is critical for the Berkshires, and how viewers can get involved in ensuring a complete count. (recorded 7/1/20)
    • 1Berkshire Virtual Town Hall – Reopening the Economy – Phase 3 This panel conversation and Q&A-style town hall featured Senator Adam Hinds, John Lewis (Chief Executive Storyteller, SP3AK EASY Studio), Eric Kerns (Partner, TOURISTS), Jennifer Trainer Thompson (President and CEO, Hancock Shaker Village) discussing the steps, logistics, and potential impacts of Phase 3 reopening here in the Berkshires. (recorded 7/10/20)
  • Emergency Childcare by 18 Degrees
  • Girls Group – 18 Degrees Family Services for Western Massachusetts hosts a group for young women ages 13-18 to support and empower on another, incorporating positive communication skills, life skills, and health relationship skills with a focus on individual strengths and goals.
  • Gift Card Shop – Support the Berkshires and Downtown Pittsfield by purchasing a gift card.
  • Mass.gov – Online portal for PPE & volunteers to support COVID-19 response
  • Massachusetts Disaster Volunteers – designed to connect unaffiliated volunteers to agencies in need.
  • Ride for Roots Rising – Beginning June 20, participate in a socially-distant bike ride to raise money for community food access.
  • Doorstep Deliverers – Request a volunteer delivery of an order at a local business. Currently serving housebound community members across Berkshire County and Columbia County, MA.
  • How to Support Restaurants and Their Workers Right Now – Article from bon appetit
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Berkshire County’s Warm Line: (413) 445-1136 – – Call to talk to either a NAMI BC staff or a community trained volunteer having lived experience with mental health issues, trauma, and/or to assist individuals through a difficult time, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Clinical & Support Options’ Great Barrington Family Resource Center at 141 West Avenue in Great Barrington, offering multi-cultural parenting resources, support groups, early childhood services, information, and other education and referral programs for families whose children range in age from birth to 18, free and available to any child or family.

Grants and Relief Funds

Best Practices & Tips

  • 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.

Questions or Concerns?

1Berkshire is currently operating remotely to service the needs of the community during these trying times. Our team is actively engaging with all our stakeholders to ensure the prosperity of our region. Please feel free to reach out to us at info@1berkshire or call us at (413) 499-1600.

Together, we can keep our Berkshire community and economy healthy and strong.