A group of about 25 eatery owners pressed Mayor Linda Tyer to lift the ban on indoor dining instituted on Nov. 12 after a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, some of which could trace back to gatherings at several local restaurants.

A group of Pittsfield restaurant owners and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer have come up with a compromise to allow indoor dining to resume – that's if the city’s Board of Health will sign off on it.

IBerkshires.com reports that the mayor spoke with the owners over a Zoom call Tuesday. It resulted in two proposals: one to limit the number of people allowed at a table and the other to schedule biweekly meetings between the COVID-19 task force and the restaurant owners.

Pittsfield Massachusetts/YouTube

The Board of Health is meeting on Wednesday and Tyer plans to ask the Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong and Dr. Alan Kulberg of Berkshire Health Systems to advocate for reopening the restaurants. That would be dependent on reducing the state limit of 10 people at a table to six.

Tyer thought that this would be a good experiment to do, as the city could monitor positive case trends closely in this situation. The indoor dining is listed as an emergency order on the board's agenda for Wednesday. Tyer said they will likely have a good idea of a date for reopening by Friday.

Craig Benoit of the Hot Dog Ranch said it would be helpful to establish an initial protocol that is done before a restaurant even notifies the city. He thinks it would be a safer solution for everyone involved.

Benoit pulled the coalition together in a matter of days and hopes to establish it as a support system for restaurants to navigate COVID-19 outbreaks and city guidelines.
He also requested that the Board of Health provide signage for mask enforcement and social distancing so that customers are more likely to comply.

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