Coronavirus outbreak puts a strain on Hancock Shaker Village

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HANCOCK, Mass. (NEWS10)- Hancock Shaker Village said they are sustaining heavy economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak. They said they are delaying the museum’s opening to at least May 15, have had to lay off nearly 50% of their year-round staff, and suspended hiring seasonal workers. In addition to the layoffs and lack of seasonal help, the remaining salaried staff had their wages cut between 10-35%.

The 750-acre Berkshire farm houses 22,000+ Shaker artifacts including furniture, textiles, hymnals, and everyday goods. Some buildings on the property date back to 1783.

“It is extraordinarily painful to make these cuts to our already lean staff, but we are cognizant of the fact that we have a profound responsibility to protect and preserve the treasured institution that we tend,” Director Jennifer Trainer Thompson said.

The farm will continue to produce food for its community-supported agriculture program, and local families with food insecurities. “We believe it is vitally important that local food systems remain intact and strong in the face of challenges such as the one the world is confronting,” said Thompson.

The museum said the economic impact not only affects the farm/museum. They said the region could lose more than a million dollars in tourism revenue.

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