ANCHORAGE, AK — Today, Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson signed a modified Hunker Down order, Emergency Order EO-16, to halt the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) and to protect our public health systems, which serve the entire state of Alaska, and the residents who rely upon these systems. The order will take effect on Tuesday, December 1 at 8:00 a.m. and will remain in effect until Friday, January 1 at 8:00 a.m.
Despite the Municipality, the State, businesses, and health care providers urging behavior that would slow the spread of the virus, disease transmission is occurring throughout our community and we continue to experience a record-breaking surge of COVID-19 cases. As a result, our health care system is now under threat. Many health care workers who provide care to those in need in hospitals and long-term care settings are getting sick themselves, leaving fewer staff to do this work as COVID-19 case numbers climb. This extremely high caseload has also overwhelmed the MOA's public health team's capacity to conduct adequate contact tracing.
“This is not an easy decision. I have been working for weeks with our community partners to find alternatives to issuing this type of emergency order. But I must protect our community, and that requires issuance of this EO," said Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson. “The current trajectory is not sustainable, however, hope is on the horizon – a vaccine is near – but we need to work together until that day to protect the health and safety of our community."
Widespread community transmission has already created a damper on the economy, prevented children from returning to classrooms, and resulted in the death of sixty-six (66) Anchorage residents. The emergency order will prevent additional prolonged effects of this pandemic on our community and keep health care front line workers safe so that they can continue to care for all of us.
“We are working with the Assembly to approve and allocate fifteen (15) million dollars, the last bit of CARES Act money we have left," said Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson. “We will make these funds available to areas of greatest need, such as additional rental and mortgage assistance, small business support, and to the hospitality and tourism industries."
EO-16 requires individuals to temporarily return to Hunker Down behaviors, and limits situations that are particularly conducive to spreading COVID-19, such as when people are crowded in confined spaces and not wearing masks. EO-16 directs the following for the month of December:
- Individuals limit outings and physical contact to those within their household.
- Individuals likely to be contagious with COVID-19 quarantine or isolate.
- Indoor gatherings are limited to six people, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Specific exceptions are defined in the emergency order, including for drive-in events, classrooms, and political and religious gatherings.
- Bars and restaurants are closed except for take-out, delivery, or outdoor service.
- Indoor gyms are limited to 25% capacity.
- Organized sports are closed to indoor competitions.
- Bingo Halls, theaters, private clubs, and other entertainment facilities are closed.
- Salons and personal care service providers are limited to 25% capacity and cannot provide services that require the removal of a mask.
- All retail and other public-facing businesses are limited to 25% building occupancy and must maintain physical distancing.
- Employers must require employees to work from home when remote work does not significantly impede business operations.
EO-16 may be found on the Emergency Orders page of the Municipality's COVID-19 website. Mental health resources are also available on the Municipality's COVID-19 website.
Businesses or entities that have questions about the Municipality's COVID-19 response may email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Anchorage residents seeking more information about the Municipality's COVID-19 response may email COVIDemail@example.com, call Alaska 2-1-1, or leave a voicemail at 343-4019.
Media contact: Carolyn Hall, Communications Director, Office of the Mayor, (907) 343-7103, firstname.lastname@example.org