Health mandate 10, which requires all travelers coming to Alaska from out of state to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, has been extended to June 2, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced during a press briefing on Friday.
Prior to the extension, the mandate was set to expire on Tuesday.
“We’re extending that because we want to see what happens as we start to open up and go through our other phases,” Dunleavy said. “We want to open that up and examine that to see if this has any impact on the cases.”
Dunleavy said the travel restrictions will be examined on a daily basis.
“If things are looking good, there will be a decision point on the travel coming in from outside of the state,” he said. “We believe that that travel restriction has helped us tremendously, because of our isolation, our location on the globe, our limited land routes and the fact that we travel mostly by plane.”
Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said that beginning this week, COVID-19 testing will be available for incoming travelers at the Anchorage Airport.
“We’ve got critical infrastructure workforce that are entering Alaska and then flying out to vulnerable communities, so as groups come in, there are a lot of industries and organizations that have set up testing at their final destination site,” Crum said.
“As we have incoming commercial fishermen, if they can’t quarantine or if they can’t test at their final destination, we are going to have availability starting on Tuesday (for) testing at the Anchorage airport.”
A contractor will be available on-site to test individuals when they land. Test results will be available within 48 hours. Crum encouraged those in need of airport testing to reach out to email@example.com.
The quarantine mandate does not apply to intrastate travel, which is permitted to communities on the Marine Highway System for both essential and nonessential purposes.
“The data is driving our decisions,” Dunleavy said. “Let’s say that we ascertain that there is a spike, a cluster, a problem related to ferry travel to specific places. Then we can go in there and surgically address that issue.”
“We believe that’s a better approach than just a blanket closure on large-scale activities in large parts of the state,” he added.
Crum said small communities served by the Marine Highway System, such as Port Lions and Ouzinkie, still have the option of implementing further travel restrictions.