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‘We’re open’: Alaska businesses can operate at full capacity on Friday, Dunleavy says

was written by Tegan Hanlon, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage , 2020-05-20 02:48:26

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a news conference about COVID-19 in early May. (Office of the Governor)

Alaska businesses can open at full capacity on Friday and sports can resume, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Tuesday evening. 

“Friday, we’re open for business across the state of Alaska,” Dunleavy said at a news conference. 

Alaska will enter phase three and four of the government’s five-phase reopening plan simultaneously at 8 a.m. Friday. That means restaurants, bars, gyms, retail shops and other businesses can fully open. All churches, libraries and museums can too. Sports and recreational activities can resume, Dunleavy said. It’s the governor’s latest major lift of coronavirus-related restrictions. Previously, certain businesses could only operate at 25% to 50% capacity. 

“It’ll all be open, just like it was prior to the virus,” Dunleavy said.

Over the past couple of months, Dunleavy said, Alaskans have successfully kept the state’s number of coronavirus cases low, allowing the state to build up testing and other health-care capacity. 

“The understanding we had with the people of Alaska was: Give us some time to build up our health care capacity to deal with what we thought was going to be a spike,” Dunleavy said. “People of Alaska have given us that time. It’s come with great sacrifice. So we believe we can manage this virus. We have to manage this virus.”

Alaskans should continue to try to stay at least 6 feet apart from those not in their households, and remain careful about gathering in big groups, Dunleavy said. He said it will be up to businesses to decide how they’ll operate. The state is moving from mandates to guidelines, he said.

“We want to give businesses and entities opportunities to open up and conduct business like we used to, with the understanding that 6-feet or more from each individual is going to slow down the spread of that virus,” he said. “Sanitation, wiping down, washing hands is going to be crucial.”

Some mandates remain in place for now, including the 14-day quarantine requirement for people traveling into Alaska. The state is working with airlines and airports to come up with other protocols, so the mandate can be lifted, Dunleavy said. 

Related: Alaska’s quarantine order has helped thwart COVID-19 but devastated tourism. Will Dunleavy keep it?

Classrooms remain closed as the school year comes to an end. The state is asking Alaskans organizing large gatherings, such as concerts, to contact health officials to make sure there’s a proper plan in place.

Dunleavy said some communities may decide to loosen restrictions more slowly.

In a statement late Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said the city is making decisions on lifting restrictions based on the metrics tied to its reopening plan. If metrics hold steady or improve by the end of the week, the city could move to the next phase of that plan. More workplaces could open. Gathering sizes could increase. 

“As the Governor’s materials directly acknowledged today, local communities are permitted to have stricter health restrictions,” said the statement from spokeswoman Carolyn Hall. “Businesses and organizations within the municipality are required to comply with local as well as state law.

In Juneau, City Manager Rorie Watt said there will likely be some trepidation from the Borough Assembly and from the public about relaxing restrictions, especially if they’ll result in more people traveling to the city.  

“Our statistics are really good,” Watt said. “That doesn’t mean that we’re ready to let our guard down.” 

Read our most recent coverage of the coronavirus here

Dunleavy said the state expects the number of coronavirus cases in Alaska to increase as mandates ease and businesses reopen. The state is prepared to deal with that community by community, he said. 

In Alaska, at least 400 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, and about 87% of them have recovered so far. A total of 43 Alaskans have been hospitalized and 10 have died. More than 36,000 tests have been administered. Alaska currently has one of the lowest per-capita infection rates compared to other U.S. states.

Related: First positive coronavirus case reported in Kotzebue

Across the country, states are moving to reopen after the coronavirus swiftly shut down the economy. The total number of cases of the contagious disease in the U.S. has topped 1.5 million and at least 90,000 people have died, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

KTOO’s Rashah McChesney contributed to this report.

Read Original ‘We’re open’: Alaska businesses can operate at full capacity on Friday, Dunleavy says Article Here

a vacation in the state of Alaska

A Vacation In Alaska, America’s icebox

In many cases the most interesting material are not all encompassing esoteric research studies but emotional viewpoints showing individuals and small communities. Yet, actually often it is the large institutions offering the more interesting and explanatory narratives. Not surprisingly there is also a role for travel and tourism statistics reports or policy analysis. Articles about a trip to Alaska such as ‘We’re open’: Alaska businesses can operate at full capacity on Friday, Dunleavy says assist us to survey the far reaching ideas of sustainable travel and tourism.

As mentioned in numerous case studies more often than not people want sustainable tourism and want to be responsible tourists. Alaska is a area in which responsible hospitality and travel is critically important.

Among the list of excellent sightseeing for every person heading to Alaska includes

Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is actually the biggest national forest in the United States. It got it’s name from the Tongass Clan of the Tlingit native people and dates back to 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt established the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve. In 1908 the forest had been re-named and expanded and these days the 16.9 million-acre Tongass National Forest extends from the Pacific ocean to the huge inland ice fields that border British Columbia and from the southern tip of Prince of Wales Island to Malaspina Glacier five hundred miles to the north. Approximately 80 percent of Southeast Alaska is in Tongass and with it’s thousands of islands, fjords and bays the national forest offers 11,000 miles of coastline. Tongass’ extensive coastal rain forest consists of towering hemlock, spruce and red and yellow cedar. The undergrowth beneath thebig conifers is composed of young evergreens and shrubs including devil’s club, blueberry and huckleberry. Moss and ferns cover the ground, and lichens adorn numerous trees and rocks.

Wildlife is abundant all through Tongass. Sitka blacktail deer and its two main predators, wolf and brown bear, are located here. Black bear are common as well as mountain goats and some moose. Marine mammals encountered along the coast line include Dall and harbor porpoises, seals and humpback, minke and orca whales and a thriving population of sea otters. The seas teem with fish such as halibut and all 5 species of Pacific salmon. More bald eagles stay in this area than in any other place in the world. While home to the world’s largest temperate rain forest, nearly fifty percent of Tongass is covered by ice, water, wetlands and rock. It’s most famous ice floe is the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska’s “Drive-in glacier” because it is just 13 miles from down-town Juneau along a paved road. A boat ride from Petersburg or Wrangell brings everyone near the face of LeConte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier on the continent. Only 30 miles north of Yakutat is Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in the world and easily Alaska’s most active. The 76-mile-long glacier has crossed Russell Fjord several times, most recently in 2008. The rip tides and currents that flow in front of the 8-mile-wide glacier are so powerful they trigger Hubbard to calve nearly continuously. The Tongass incorporates 19 wilderness areas, including the 545-sq-mile Russell Fjord Wilderness, in addition to Admiralty Island National Monument and Misty Fiords National Monument. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and the general area surrounding Haines and Skagway are not part of the national forest.

a vacation in Tongass National Forest in Alaska

Traveling To Tongass National Forest in Alaska