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During a meeting Wednesday night, Pittsfield Board of Health members Bobbie Orsi, Steve Smith and Kimberly Loring voted to implement a citywide mask directive that will require masking in indoor public spaces.

PITTSFIELD — A new directive requiring masking in indoor public spaces across Pittsfield will go into effect Monday, after a unanimous vote by the Board of Health to intensify the city’s masking policy.

Pittsfield just enacted a masking directive. What does that mean?

All three Board of Health members present at the board’s meeting Wednesday night voted to enact a masking directive instead of updating the mask advisory the city has implemented. The board will review the directive and coronavirus case data each month to decide when to end the requirement.

Under the new directive, a mask will be required for anyone in an indoor public space, and a sign informing people of the directive will be posted at the entrance of the space. The city’s Health Department will provide a sign on the directive for businesses that would prefer not to make their own.

Interim Health Department Director Andy Cambi said if the board is seeing widespread issues with compliance, it could follow up with a mandate — and associated fines.

“The reason I like the directive is because it eliminates the question,” board member Bobbie Orsi said. “It’s clearer to me. When you go in [to a public space], you see a note on the door that says you need to be in a mask.”

“I like that it clarifies what people do when they’re standing at the door and going in [somewhere],” Orsi said.

Orsi rejoined the board during its meeting Wednesday, filling the spot left open with the resignation of former chair Dr. Alan Kulberg. The board, which only included members Steve Smith and Kimberly Loring, voted unanimously to appoint Orsi chair and Loring as vice chair.

The Pittsfield Board of Health’s directive mirrors similar policies in Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge. The town of Adams discussed implementing a directive but instead posted an informal advisory online. Cambi said that Williamstown and Great Barrington have also decided to go with mask advisories.

The directive comes as the city has experienced an increase in coronavirus cases, even as hospitalization rates have remained low and steady. As of Tuesday the city’s 14-day average for daily cases was 38.7 per 100,000 people.

Cambi said the data shows that vaccines are protecting residents from serious illness. He said that the percentage of fully vaccinated residents increased to 67 percent during the past two weeks.

The board’s discussion around a new masking policy had started with a request from Josh Bloom, a father from Lee, who asked the board to consider a mandate or directive for children in indoor activities. Bloom said his daughters have had to stop attending dance lessons in Pittsfield because the studio owners don’t require masks.

Smith pointed out that the directive approved by the board covers everyone in Pittsfield, not just children.

Cambi said getting compliance for a policy so targeted would be too challenging.

“Our end goal is just to have protection for everybody,” Cambi said.

This article has been modified to remove incorrect information about fines, and to reflect the fact that the town of Adams has encouraged masking but has not instituted a directive.

Meg Britton-Mehlisch can be reached at or


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