Great Barrington Town Buildings closed to public; town services available online, by phone

Great Barrington — Effective immediately, all town buildings and parks equipment will be closed to the public until further notice.

The decision was made Wednesday morning (March 18) at a meeting of the Great Barrington Emergency Task Force as another response to the coronavirus pandemic, Selectboard member Ed Abrahams said.

Employees will remain working and providing services to residents electronically and by phone during normal operating hours.

In addition:

  • The Mason and Ramsdell Libraries provide extensive online collections to patrons. Our physical collection is also available and will be provided by a drive-thru pick up system at the Mason and Ramsdell libraries. Staff will assist patrons by phone and email at Mason, (413) 528-2403. Residents may check the gblibraries.org website for more information about drive-thru pickups and other updates.
  • The Town Clerk’s office will provide all services online, by email, and by regular mail, including dog license renewals, transfer station bag tags, vital records, etc. To obtain or submit nomination papers for the upcoming town election in May, please contact Town Clerk Jennifer Messina, jmessina@townofgb.org or call (413)-528-1619 ext. 3 to arrange for drop-off/pick-up.
  • The treasurer/collector’s office has installed a drop-box for tax payments, located in front of Town Hall. Payments are also accepted online at no additional charge when using a checking account; credit or debit card payments also accepted. For questions contact Treasurer/Collector Karen Fink, kfink@townofgb.org or call: (413)-528-1619 ext. 4.
  • The Senior Center will be closed but many services are still available. A daily pre-packaged meal will be provided to our elderly residents in need. To register, contact the center one day in advance to arrange for pick-up, (413) 528-1881.
  • Anyone calling 911 is reminded to advise the dispatcher of all symptoms or possible exposures so that emergency responders can take necessary precautions.
  • The Town is actively working on coordinated, county-wide preparations and response to this pandemic.
    For all other departments, please visit our website for email and phone contacts at: www.townofgb.org.

Abrahams released a statement on the Great Barrington Community Board Facebook page this afternoon explaining the decisions:

This morning I sat in on a meeting of GB’s emergency task force. I was impressed. I said this few days ago, but it’s worth repeating: The town is as on top of this ever changing situation as possible.In the room with the town manager and assistant TM, (sitting at least 6 feet apart from one another) were people representing police, fire, public works, senior center, library, health department, Fairview Hospital, Berkshire Commons, Simon’s Rock, BHRSD, Southern Berkshire Ambulance, and the selectboard.Everyone was reviewing their department needs and responses.

All decisions were discussed and evaluated and compared with state recommendations. It isn’t an easy or obvious task to weigh the risk of spreading the virus vs. real needs of the public (food, medical treatment, etc.). Every decision has legal restrictions and economic fallout. Every decision has costs and benefits.You know how I say “It’s Not That Simple.” This is really not.There are no obvious answers. The questions are often not even obvious. But there is a team of people talking frequently (as of now, no longer in the same room), to try and keep us as safe as possible.