On Thursday Nov. 12, the Pittsfield Board of Health issued an emergency order suspending table service at city restaurants until further notice. The ban went into effect Friday, Nov. 13. Local eateries will still be allowed to provide take-out and delivery service only. Now, over two weeks into this ban, some restaurants are speaking out.
Craig Benoit is the owner of Hot Dog Ranch on Housatonic St in Pittsfield. Since Craig closed his doors on Nov. 13, he has been looking to get answers from city hall as to when he can reopen. “We have no guidance about when we’re going to open, how this decision was made and stuff like that,” says Beniot. He’s currently only open for take-out orders.
If Pittsfield residents want the indoor dining experience, they could take a short drive out of town. All other municipalities in Massachusetts allow indoor dining.
Beniot has sent emails to the mayor’s office asking for accommodations to reopen indoor dining and asking for answers. “The letters I wrote to the mayor, two of the responses say it stems from large gatherings at restaurants, it wasn’t mine — I am not saying who they were. And that there were a bunch of house parties with people in their homes… well I don’t think people in their homes is our responsibility for a restaurant in the City of Pittsfield,” says Beniot. Beniot says he’s been following the COVID-19 guidelines since day one and has no problem doing so.
On Friday, Beniot created a petition asking the city to allow restaurants to resume indoor dining. “A couple of restaurant friends of mine decided you know what, we just can’t sit still,” he said. Since Friday, 25 businesses have signed the petition. He plans to hand the petition to the mayor Monday afternoon. Beniot expect more businesses to sign before heading to city hall.
We reached out to the Mayor’s office for a comment, but have not heard back at this time.