Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Alaska, US, to lift some business restrictions starting April 24. Stay-at-home order to remain in place until further notice.

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 22 Apr 2020 15:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Alaskan Governor Michael Dunleavy announced the reopening of certain businesses in the state starting April 24, and extended the stay-at-home order until further notice, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Travel restrictions also remain in place. Restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to provide limited in-person services, as well as barbers and hair salons, starting April 24. However, in the city of Anchorage, reopenings will start April 27. Businesses must enhance sanitation, all workers must wear face masks, and a proper distance between customers must be ensured. Further details regarding the guidelines that businesses must follow to reopen will be announced in the coming days.

Alaskan authorities extended the order requiring residents to remain in their homes except to perform essential tasks until further notice. The order, which was set to expire April 21, allows residents to leave their homes only to obtain basic goods, to attend to a medical issue, to care for a person in need, or to perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining a proper distance from others and without gathering. People working in essential businesses and services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and those related to security, infrastructure, transport, and government services, may also leave their homes. In-person classes in all private and public schools in the state have been canceled until the end of the school year. Authorities also extended restrictions to intrastate travel until further notice. Residents are not allowed to travel between communities, unless they are providing or obtaining essential services, such as buying, selling, or delivering basic goods, or providing or receiving medical attention.

All travelers entering the state of Alaska from abroad or from another US state, even if they are residents, must self-quarantine for 14 days from the moment of their arrival until at least May 19. People working in essential services are exempted from this order.

Significant 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 the 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.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

State of Alaska - COVID-19 Updates: https://gov.alaska.gov

Governor of Alaska - COVID-19 Restrictions and Guidelines: https://gov.alaska.gov