Give a boost to hospitality industry

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Social distancing is a key component in combating the spread of the coronavirus and it is putting a strain on us social animals. Social distancing is also doing considerable financial harm to the area hospitality industry. As this is a critical sector of the Berkshire economy this is a worrisome situation for all.

Restaurants and hotels are being hit hard, resulting in layoffs that are contributing to the skyrocketing jobless numbers in the Berkshires. "Social distancing guts area hospitality industry," Eagle, Friday, March 20. Many restaurants have closed entirely while others are earning some money through take-out meals. Hotels are emptying out, which has a trickle-down effect for farms, food and linen purveyors and others who earn their incomes from hotels.

What can Berkshire residents do to help? Well, they can get some occasional take-out orders and focus on the restaurants that have lost their sit-down business to social distancing and are trying to stay afloat with take-out. Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Hospitality, partly owned by the Fitzpatrick family, which operates the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Hotel on North in Pittsfield, and the Porches Inn in North Adams, while owning the Briarcliff Motel in Great Barrington, noted in Clarence Fanto's story that gift card purchases are being sold "at a very friendly rate" for future bookings. Gift cards are a good way to help other hotels, motels and restaurants across the Berkshires survive these tough times.

Ideally, all of our hotels, restaurants, museums, playhouses and music venues will outlast the coronavirus and return to good health. After social distancing ends, we suspect that Berkshire residents, like people all over the country, will be eager to get out in groups again and may pack taverns, restaurants and other now-quiet venues to the point they will have to add staff to those who will be returning. We look forward to that day. In the meantime, let's find ways to keep our hospitality industry afloat until that day arrives.

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