Crane Stationery Co. restarted operations Friday in defiance of North Adams' mayor, claiming that it isn't required to prove its printing business qualifies as "essential" under pandemic rules.

Employees returned to work at Crane buildings in the city's industrial park five days after the company called off a planned reopening because of conditions put in place Sunday by Mayor Thomas Bernard.

The city found Crane to be in violation of Bernard's reopening conditions and ordered it to close. Crane did not comply.

The mayor is consulting with the city's attorney and plans to issue an enhanced order.

Bernard required Crane to allow health and building inspectors inside its Curran Highway buildings to check on safety precautions. Bernard asked Crane to explain in writing to the city's Board of Health the precautions it will take to protect employees from possible contagion.

While the company had responded to those requests, it did not document that all of the work it would do qualifies as "essential."

Late Friday, the company accused Bernard of making "false claims" about Crane and overstepping his authority in a week during which a top executive termed the city's response "retaliatory."

Read all the details on The Berkshire

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