Easthampton keeping city buildings closed till March

  • Easthampton Municipal Building, 50 Payson Avenue GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/7/2020 12:47:47 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The city’s municipal buildings will remain closed to the public into the new year.

The announcement was made via a mayoral order issued last week by Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. It extends the closures to March 1, keeping in place the status quo that has been in effect since the city shut the buildings to the public last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not until further notice,” LaChapelle said. “It has a concreteness around it.”

An exception to the closures is the lobby of the public safety complex at 32 Payson Ave., which will remain open to the public as it has been throughout the pandemic.

“I don’t like the trend I’m seeing right now,” LaChapelle said of the pandemic.

Surges in COVID-19 cases have been seen after holidays, and LaChapelle noted that Thanksgiving just occurred. She also noted the scarcity of testing in western Massachusetts.

“I’m concerned and a little frustrated,” LaChapelle said.

The mayor also said that if she’d known there would be an availability issue with tests, she would have spent some of the city’s CARES Act funding on them. She also said she doesn’t see how a testing and contact tracing program can be established locally without significant funding.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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