Juneau City Hall on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

Juneau City Hall on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

City asks governor for collaboration on travel restrictions

Juneau is a lynchpin for the region, the Assembly says.

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly wrote a letter to the governor, asking for close and continued cooperation as the state seeks to lift travel restrictions.

“As you consider lifting interstate travel restrictions, we ask that you closely link the lifting of the 14-day quarantine restrictions with enhanced testing capabilities,” stated the letter, signed by Mayor Beth Weldon. “In normal years, we also welcome many independent tourists and the highest number of cruise ship passengers of any community in Alaska.”

The letter highlights Juneau’s position as a linchpin of travel, commerce and medical capability in the region.

“As the capital and a regional hub, Juneau plays host to many traveling workers, including the legislators and their staff, the miners and support staff at Kensington and Greens Creek mines, the fishing fleet and fish processing workers at Excursion Inlet and in Juneau at Taku Fisheries and Alaska Glacier Seafoods,” the letter stated. “Juneau is also very aware of our role as a regional medical center for smaller towns that do not have health care facilities adequate to in the event of a breakout of COVID-19.”

Health Mandate 10, which requires travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days, was extended to May 19, but Gov. Mike Dunleavy previously said a decision about whether to extend it further is expected by the end of this week.

With localized testing centers and laboratory support, Juneau could help test visitors and get same or next-day testing results, ensuring the safety and health as the community for a whole.

“We believe that working with your administration we can make Juneau a testing center for these industries that can allow Alaskans to get back to work and to advance the economic interests of the State while looking out for public health,” the letter stated. “With excellent air service to the towns and villages of Southeast, we are well poised to provide same day testing in the region. We would like to partner with your administration in pursuit of this goal.”

The full text is available here.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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