Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Alaska, US, maintain travel restrictions through at least May 19. As of May 5, most businesses allowed to reopen.

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 05 May 2020 19:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 19 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Authorities in Alaska maintain travel restrictions for those entering the state through at least May 19, and have lifted multiple business restrictions, as part of the government's response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 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.

Authorities initially lifted multiple business restrictions April 24, as part of phase 1 of the reopening of the economy. The state guidelines allow for restaurants and retail stores to provide in-person services, limiting their capacity to 25 percent, while bars will remain closed. Barbers, hair salons, and other personal care businesses may also reopen, for appointments only and with all waiting areas closed. Gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed, and lodging businesses and camping grounds may reopen. All businesses must enhance sanitation; workers and customers must wear face coverings, and employers must ensure social distance measures. Businesses that do not face the public may also reopen. Gyms can only operate outdoors with a maximum of 20 people. Intrastate travel is allowed.

Authorities have also ordered all residents to wear face coverings when in public and to enhance personal sanitation. Vulnerable populations and those most at risk of being infected are encouraged to remain at home as much as possible.

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.

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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