KETCHIKAN (KDN) - Two more statewide health mandates were issued by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration on Monday evening in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The mandates were announced during a press conference Monday evening, during which Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska's chief medical officer, announced four more positive test results for COVID-19 in Alaska. All four of those new cases were in the Anchorage area. The number of Ketchikan cases remains at six.
Mandate 9, which will go into effect March 24 at 5 p.m., will require a halt of operations to all businesses at which individuals are within 6 feet of each other, including barber shops and hair salons, nail salons, tattoo shops, day spas and tanning facilities. The mandate also forbids gatherings of more than 10 people and requires that people stay at least 6 feet apart at any gatherings.
The administration issued a nearly identical mandate on Friday, which applied only to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Mandate 10 will require all international and interstate travelers to Alaska to self-quarantine for 14 days or for the length of their stay in Alaska, whichever is shorter. The mandate will go into effect March 25 at 12:01 a.m.
The mandate applies to all travelers, but it will be enforced and tracked at Alaska’s airports, Adam Crum, the comissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said at Wednesday’s press briefing.
“The bulk of the passengers and the people from out of state entering Alaska are via air travel,” Crum said.
Upon arrival at any Alaska airport, all out-of-state travelers will be required to identify a designated quarantine location as part of a mandatory State of Alaska Travel Declaration Form. For Alaska residents, the designated quarantine location is their residence; for visitors or workers the designated location is their hotel room or rented lodging.
Travelers will be forbidden from leaving their designated quarantine location except for medical emergencies or to seek medical care. Visitors are not to enter or exit the location, except for physicians, healthcare providers, or individuals authorized to enter the designated location by a unified command unit.
The mandate allows for exceptions for industries that support “critical infrastructure,” including health care operations, grocery stores, gas stations, laundromats, news media, hardware stores and food transportation.
Businesses that support critical infrastructure and that have employees that must travel to enter Alaska “must submit a plan or protocol for maintaining critical infrastructure to the (State of Alaska) Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development by 3 p.m. March 24, outlining how (the business) will avoid the spread of COVID-19 and not endanger the lives of the communities in which (the business operates), of others who serve as a part of that infrastructure or the ability of that critical infrastructure to function.”
Mandate 10 will supercede all municipal travel guidelines. Those found in violation of the mandate can be fined up to $25,000 or face up to one year in jail. The mandate will be reevaluated by April 21, according to the text of the mandate.
The full text of the new mandates can be found at gov.alaska.gov/home/covid19-heatlhmandates. The full list of businesses and industries eligible for exemption from Mandate 10 can be found at bit.ly/2JmPU9L.