Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Alaska, US, to lift most COVID-19 business restrictions May 22. Travel restrictions remain in place through June 2.

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 21 May 2020 19:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Alaska (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel restrictions, some transport and business disruptions

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced the start of Phase 3 of the state's economic recovery plan on May 22 with the lifting of most business restrictions that had been put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Starting May 22, all businesses, recreational activities, places of worship, museums and libraries, and sports activities will be allowed, without limits on the number of customers or participants. Large events, such as concerts or festivals, must obtain permission from health authorities to be organized. Businesses should continue to impose enhanced sanitation procedures, and all residents must maintain a 1.8 meters (six feet) distance from others. Authorities also encourage residents to use face coverings when in public and when close to others, and for people already sick to stay at home.

Orders requiring all travelers entering the state from abroad or from another US state to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival will remain in place through at least June 2. Intrastate travel is allowed between communities through the road system or the marine highway system, while travel off the road or marine system is only allowed to those conducting essential services, and for people with critical needs. In-person lessons in schools remain canceled through the end of the academic year.

Some transport and business disruptions remain likely. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely 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.

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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