Courtesy Photo | Office of the Governor 
                                Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink speaks at a press conference in Anchorage on Friday.

Courtesy Photo | Office of the Governor Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink speaks at a press conference in Anchorage on Friday.

As coronavirus cases rise to 36, state mandates travel restrictions and business closures

Starting Tuesday evening, certain business must close and out-of-state travel is restricted

New mandates announced Monday mean travelers into Alaska must self-quarantine for two weeks and salons, tattoo parlors and similar businesses must close.

The mandates were announced by Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum and are effective as of 12:01 a.m. March 25.

Some workers in “critical infrastructure industries” are exempt from the self-quarantine mandate, Crum said, but businesses must submit a plans by 3 p.m. March 24 outlining how the business will avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, under the new mandates, no gatherings of 10 or more people may take place. If such a gathering does take place, people are to be at least six feet apart.

The self-quarantine mandate is similar to a resolution passed Sunday by the City and Borough of Juneau, but the state’s order has more teeth. The state’s self-quarantine mandate supersede’s the one OK’d by the city.

Breaking the self-quarantine is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, according to the mandate.

Additionally the state has identified its first occurrence of “community spread,” of instances where the COVID-19 virus is spreading amongst the community Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Monday. Courtesy Photo | Office of the

Dunleavy spoke alongside Crum and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and said the virus was going to hit the state hard and that people needed to prepare for that.

Four additional cases were identified in Anchorage Monday, Zink said, and more tests were currently being done. The state has not issued a “hunker down” or shelter at home order as have California and New York, and Alaskans can still enjoy the outdoors, Zink said, as long as they stay a safe distance from one another.

Several additional cases were announced over the weekend, including on in Juneau and one in Soldotna, two communities where the virus had not been confirmed earlier. Alaska currently has 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Zink.

The Juneau case was identified Sunday, and city officials have said they are working closely with DHSS.

[Juneau has first confirmed coronavirus victim, prepares screening service]

The governor thanked first responders, health care professionals, state workers and others who were helping to keep society functioning amidst the crisis.

“If we could send everybody home, we would,” Dunleavy said, referring to the many state employees who are continuing to come to work.

“This time is going to be critical,” Dunleavy said urging people to help one another, particularly older citizens who were vulnerable to the virus. “Alaska’s going to get through this.”

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.

Information on the coronavirus is available from websites for the City and Borough of Juneau, the State of Alaska at coronavirus.alaska.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with flu-like symptoms are encouraged to contact their health care provider.

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