Great Barrington implores second-home owners, tourists to stay away during COVID-19 contagion

Under normal circumstances we would welcome everyone, but these are difficult times and our resources are limited.”

Great Barrington – Town Manager Mark Pruhenski has issued a plea to second-home owners and visitors to not use Great Barrington as a refuge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Great Barrington Town Manager Mark Pruhenski. Photo: David Scribner

As recently as Wednesday, the Town was advising those seeking isolation at second homes and short-term rentals to immediately self-quarantine for a minimum of 14-days upon arrival to slow the spread of COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus).

“While our earlier messaging still stands, it’s now being updated to be as explicit as possible”, said Town Manager Mark Pruhenski. “This is not the time to visit the Berkshires and it only puts us all at greater risk during a worldwide pandemic”.

  • Please do not travel here seeking isolation. You should shelter-in-place at your primary residence to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
  • Please do not expect that resources will be plentiful here and available to you when you need them. Our hospitals, public safety, and local government resources are strained like any other area.
  • Please do not expect our stores to have an abundance of supplies available for you. Only stores deemed “essential” are open to the public at this time, and we all need access to food, personal hygiene products, cleaners/disinfectants, and medications that may be in short supply.
  • Please do not expect our public spaces to be open. Many Berkshire parks, hiking trails, and other outdoor recreation spaces are closed until further notice.
Selectboard Chairman Stephen Bannon. Photo: David Scribner

“The recent influx of second homeowners and those seeking short-term rentals continues to impact our ability to provide for all”, said Stephen Bannon, Chairman of the Selectboard. “Under normal circumstances we would welcome everyone, but these are difficult times and our resources are limited.”

With hundreds of short-term rental owners normally welcoming guests, the town is also urging local hosts to refuse rental inquiries at this time. Travelers that choose to come anyway, should bring food and supplies with them, self-quarantine for 14-days, send only one family member to shop after that 14-day period has expired, and take advantage of the food delivery options available. The Town also urges local essential businesses to share this information widely.

For questions, please contact the office of the Selectboard/Town Manager at 413-528-1619 x2.