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Pittsfield Reopens Indoor Dining, With Some Restrictions

Downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen
Downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Board of Health has rescinded an earlier order to close indoor dining in the city.

The board is allowing restaurants to resume table service with new requirements, such as getting contact information from patrons in case infection tracing is needed, and limiting seating to six people per table.

Alan Kulberg, a physician and the chair of the Board of Health, said the original order was issued after "a couple of large clusters of cases" were traced to people who work in restaurants. He said those rates have improved, but the overall infection rate in the city has gone up.

Kulberg said the board is offering suggestions to restaurants to make sure reopening is successful.

"Delegating an employee of the restaurant as a COVID monitor whose job it would be to enforce the health and safety rules, to make sure that people who are sitting at a table only have their masks off when they're eating or drinking," Kulber said. "But before the meal is served, and after the meal has been cleared away, the masks have to go back on."

Kulberg said the decision to reopen indoor dining is data-driven, but a request from restaurant owners asking to reopen had some bearing on the board's decision. 

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