Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Alaska, US, extend travel restrictions through at least June 2. Multiple business restrictions lifted.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Juneau, Alaska
  • Sitka, Alaska
  • Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Prudhoe Bay-Deadhorse, Alaska
  • Barrow, Alaska
  • Norton Sound
  • Valdez, Alaska
  • Kenai-Nikiski, Alaska
  • Kotzebue, Alaska
  • Kodiak, Alaska
  • Unalaska (Dutch Harbor), Alaska
  • Bethel, Alaska
  • Adak, Alaska
  • Nome, Alaska
  • Petersburg, Alaska
  • Wrangell, Alaska
  • Yakutat, Alaska

This alert began 19 May 2020 12:12 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Alaska (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June
  • Impact: Travel and movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy extended the order that requires all travelers entering the state from abroad or from another US state to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival through at least June 2. The measure is part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Previously, authorities had eased intra-state travel restrictions, allowing all travel between communities through the road system or the marine highway system, while limiting travel off the road or marine system only to those conducting essential services, and people with critical needs.

Since May 8, authorities launched phase 2 of the economic recovery plan, which allows for multiple businesses to reopen, while easing restrictions on businesses and services allowed to reopen since April 24. The following businesses and services are operating as of May 19:

  • Restaurants offering dine-in services, limiting occupancy to 50 percent indoors; no limits outdoors.
  • Retail stores, office-based businesses, swimming pools, limiting occupancy to 50 percent of their maximum capacity.
  • Personal care businesses, such as barbershops and nail salons, limiting occupancy to 50 percent of their maximum capacity, and only through reservations; no walk-ins.
  • Childcare centers, with a maximum of 20 kids per classroom.
  • Lodging businesses.
  • Organized sports and activities.
  • Bars, gyms and fitness centers, libraries, museums, theaters, and other entertainment venues such as bowling alleys and bingo halls, limiting occupancy to 25 percent of their maximum capacity.


Social and religious gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted. All businesses must implement a number of requirements, including enhanced sanitation procedures, and ensure social distancing measures. In most businesses, employers are required to wear masks, and customers are encouraged to do the same. In-person lessons in schools remain canceled through the end of the academic year.

Transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures is likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose or extend restrictions further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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