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Berkshire Legislators Push For Quarantine Fund

Two older white men stand in front of a marble colonnade
Josh Landes
Berkshire State Representatives Smitty Pignatelli and John Barrett

Two Berkshire County legislators have introduced a bill to the Massachusetts House that would establish a fund to support residents who cannot work due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The COVID-19 Quarantine Assistance Fund was presented by Democratic State Representatives John Barrett of the 1st Berkshire District and Smitty Pignatelli of the 4th Berkshire District. It would establish resources administered by the state secretary of health and human services that would go to Bay Staters who experience financial hardship due to contagion concerns. Pignatelli says it’s aimed at the commonwealth’s small businesses and their employees.

“So if a retail person or hotelier or a waiter or waitress or a dishwasher got laid off or was expected to be quarantined for 14 days with no sick leave, no mandatory payment on quarantine, this would kind of accelerate an unemployment opportunity for them," said the state representative.

Pignatelli says that the bill filed March 11th has over 50 legislative co-sponsors and counting.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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