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Greenfield starts next step of reopening

  • Greenfield Public Library Director Ellen Boyer said the library has not yet opened at half capacity and probably won’t for a while. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/7/2020 4:27:33 PM

GREENFIELD — Like other towns and cities across the state, Greenfield has moved into the second step of Phase 3 of reopening, allowing gyms, outdoor performance venues, libraries, indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, and driving schools, among others, to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner and the Greenfield Health Department announced that the city will “carefully follow new guidelines” announced late last week by Gov. Charlie Baker. The Emergency Management Team — which consists of Fire Chief Robert Strahan, Wedegartner, Chief of Staff Danielle Letourneau and Police Chief Robert Haigh — has agreed to reopen indoor performance venues at 50 percent capacity excluding employees and with some restrictions, as well as outdoor performance venues with the same restrictions.

“I urge everyone in Greenfield to remain cautious and careful,” Wedegartner said. “We still need to be doing everything we can to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Greenfield. This includes wearing a mask, watching your distance and washing your hands often. I want to be clear that we are watching the numbers and trends very, very carefully and I am prepared to take the necessary steps to help protect Greenfield residents should the need arise.”

Library

Greenfield Public Library Director Ellen Boyer said the library has not yet opened at half capacity and probably won’t for a while.

“We are going to keep everyone safe,” she said. “We’ll be presenting to the board of trustees on Oct. 13 and we’ll have a better idea, but the building is not open to the public right now.”

Boyer said the library is doing curbside pickup of materials and allowing people to use its laptops outside the building. Those measures have been working well and people seem happy.

“It’s two to three times the work, but we’re happy to do it for our patrons,” she said. “We learned that the virus can live twice as long on stacked books, so we have to quarantine them after people return them. Our primary focus has to be safety.”

Boyer said there is no way to open the library and have zero risk to patrons and staff.

“There are just still too many uncertainties,” she said.

While the new guidelines of the second step of Phase 3 allow places to open at 50 percent capacity, it does not require them to do so.

The Body Shoppe

Steve Ferry, certified personal trainer and gym supervisor at The Body Shoppe on High Street, said the facility will be reopening at 50 percent capacity soon, but not before it has all the guidelines it needs from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and the state.

“We’re waiting for specifics from the governor,” he said. “We are taking every precaution, limiting the number of people in every room, disinfecting and cleaning with medical-grade disinfectants, requiring face coverings and making sure everyone is social distancing.”

Ferry said The Body Shoppe won’t increase capacity until it has all of the information it needs. The gym reopened initially on July 6 after being closed since mid-March when the pandemic hit, but has been operating at less than 40 percent capacity.

Outdoor gatherings

For outdoor gatherings, including memorial services, where more than 50 attendees are anticipated, the operator of the event venue must provide notice to the Health Department at least one week before the event is scheduled, or as soon as possible where a one-week notice is not practicable due to the nature of the event. The organizer of an event held in a public place like a park is also responsible for providing notice.

Notification must include, at a minimum, the location and time of the planned event, the name and contact information of the organizer, the number of anticipated attendees and other information as requested at that time.

Fitting rooms are now also permitted to open in all types of retail stores with proper hygiene protocols in place. Museums and arcades are also permitted to increase their capacity to 50 percent.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on this,” Letourneau said. “We’re moving forward, but we’re going to make sure the public is safe, and we will turn this bus around if we have to.”

The chief of staff said the reason COVID-19 case numbers are low in Greenfield is because people have been following the safety precautions asked of them.

“We’ll basically be doing what we’ve been doing all along,” Letourneau said.

Owners of Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center and The LAVA Center, both on Main Street, could not be reached for comment by press time, so it is unclear whether they will reopen at half capacity right away.

For more information, call the Greenfield Health Department at 413-772-1404.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.



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