Ketchikan has to live life in spite of the novel coronavirus.
Ketchikan City Council recognizes that.
The council, in a 6-1 vote at its regular meeting this week, decided to open for business to American Cruise Lines, which is scheduled to dock over night June 30 and possibly disembark 130 passengers for shopping and tours in the community. The ship being welcomed for the first call of the season is the American Constellation.
Abner Hoage, Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center incident commander, pointed out Thursday that Alaska has been opening up; it's in the third stage of a four-part process.
Come Sunday, the community won't have had a positive coronavirus case in eight weeks. Total positive cases remains at 16, all of which are classified as recoveries.
That's no reason to relax precautions, but instead continue to be cautious of spreading germs, whether potentially COVID-19 or another virus.
But, at the same time, Ketchikan's economy is important.
That is what the council concluded. It is responsible to the community and its health, as well as its economic well-being.
The cruise line has operating guidelines newly minted for the coronavirus response. The city has been communicating with other communities in the region where the Constellation might call.
Some communities might not be ready to welcome ships. But that's their call, and it’s the cruise lines' decision how to deal with that.
For the small ships, sailings don't necessarily have to touch every community. There is much to be seen throughout the region's shorelines. It's true for larger ships, as well.
The Constellation call — with its relative few passengers — follows the state's example. Start with a little at a time. Base future decisions on the success or its lack of that philosophy.
"I believe this is a way to help the community," Council Member Mark Flora says, while supporting continued communication with other communities and cruise line precautions.
In helping Ketchikan in this way, he says, it will help other communities who will watch closely the First City's leadership pertaining to the cruising industry.
Ketchikan has heard cruise line after cruise line cancel its Alaska season in recent weeks. It won't have the season of recent years.
But, it has to figure out how to make its way despite life's risks and challenges. Individually, Alaskans face the like daily. They confront them. Communities of Alaskans should do the same.
The council appears prepared to do that, being aware COVID-19 isn't history. It also is prepared to deal with a resurgence in cases should that occur in Ketchikan again.