- Current COVID-19 restrictions in Alaska have brought schools, bars, and restaurants to a stop
- Health mandates from the Department of Health and Services and Governor Mike Dunleavy’s Office detail the restrictions across the state
- Elective or non-essential medical and dental procedures were requested to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 outbreak
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, so do restrictions on daily life in an attempt to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus. Current COVID-19 restrictions have put a stop to schools, restaurants, bars, nail salons, and elective dental and medical procedures across Alaska.
Currently, Alaskans are asked to follow the guidance from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the American College of Surgeons. On Friday, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alabama Anne Zink and Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum released a statement urging residents to suspend non-essential travel across the Alaska border and minimize interstate travel in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The State of Alaska released a “strong advisory” to “cease non-essential out of state personal, business, and medical travel now.” Any Alaskans out of state are encouraged to return home now if they had planned on returning in the next 30 days. Along with residents returning, it is strongly advised that any tourist or non-essential business travel to Alaska be suspended now. It is strongly recommended visitors in Alaska return to their home communities now.
Airlines in the area are mandated to post the travel recommendation to their customers via their webpages and at airports where it can be easily seen. Airports in Alaska are also mandated to prominently post all current travel recommendations. All tour operators have been asked to suspend reservations for out of state visitors.
On March 11, Alaskan Governor Mike Dunleavy signed the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration which allows health mandates to be issues when deemed necessary by DHSS, the Chief Medical Officer, the Division of Public Health, and the Office of the Governor.
On March 14, visitation by the general public to all Department of Corrections Facilities, Division of Juvenile Justice Facilities, Alaska Military Youth Academy, and Alaska Psychiatric Institute were suspended. Alaska Pioneer Home was given limited visitation. Visitation has been suspended for an indefinite amount of time.
All school-days between March 16 and March 30 are currently canceled, along with all after school activities.
On March 16, all state-operated libraries, archives, and museums were ordered to be closed from March 17 to March 31. Residential school programs were also ordered to begin the process of returning students to their families and home communities.
On March 17, Dunleavy ordered all bars, breweries, restaurants, food and beverage kiosks or trucks, and other establishments serving food or beverages to stop public dine-in service from March 18 at 5:00 pm to April 1 at 5:00 pm. Food and Beverage establishments were encouraged to offer delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service while practicing social distancing. All entertainment facilities, such as gyms, bowling alleys, and bingo halls were also ordered to be closed.
Any residents from Alaska that returning from an area considered to be a “CDC Level 3 Travel health Notice Area” are mandated to stay home and not go to work or school for 14 days. Level 3 areas include China, Iran, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
On Thursday, all patients, providers, hospitals, and surgical centers were required to postpone or cancel all non-urgent and elective medical procedures for three months to keep stress off the health care system in Alaska. This included prescheduled surgeries deemed non-essential.
Since the terms “non-urgent” and “elective” are not clearly or fully defined, the state recommended each hospital create a physician task force that can evaluate on a case-by-case basis and make determinations on some surgeries. Elective oral health procedures were also required to be postponed for a period of one month. Dental clinics run one of the highest risks for both transmission and contraction of COVID-19.
On Friday, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough ordered all hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barbershops, tattoo shops, body piercing locations, massage therapy locations, and tanning facilities to stop all operations. The mandate called for people outside a family unit to stay six feet away from each other. Additionally, gatherings of over ten people were banned along with gatherings that did not offer six feet of distance between each individual.
On Friday, all school cancellations were extended until May 1.