The city eased requirements for masks for vaccinated individuals indoors on Dec. 13, 2021. Masks will still be requireed in all City and Borough of Juneau facilities. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

The city eased requirements for masks for vaccinated individuals indoors on Dec. 13, 2021. Masks will still be requireed in all City and Borough of Juneau facilities. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

City lowers community risk level

Very little will change, save that the vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks indoors.

The City and Borough of Juneau is lowering its community risk level to Level 2 — Moderate, the city announced on Monday.

The change affects mask requirements, according to the city, but all other mitigation measures remain largely unchanged from the modified Level 3 status Juneau has been at for nearly a month.

“Masks are required in indoor, public locations for not fully vaccinated individuals and are highly recommended for fully vaccinated individuals,” stated the city’s news release announcing the change. “Individual businesses/facilities may continue to require masking regardless of vaccination status.”

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Indoor gatherings are limited to 50 with masks required, according to the city. The size and masking restrictions do not exist if all people at the gathering are vaccinated, though masks are still recommended. Exemption requests that were previously approved will remain in effect, according to the city. The holidays are the source of primary concern for the next several weeks for Juneau’s Emergency Operations Center.

“The EOC believes the main risk of increased COVID-19 transmission in the short term will be related to travel and indoor family gatherings,” stated the release. “If you are traveling, please utilize free COVID-19 testing provided by Capstone Clinic at the Juneau International Airport.”

Bars, gyms, and personal services are still capped at 50% capacity under the new risk level. Restaurants are encouraged to ensure distancing between parties as well. Many other mitigation measures remain in place.

City facilities will continue to require masking regardless of vaccination status, according to the city, and per federal rule, masking remains required in airports, on planes and buses for everyone 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status. Masking continues to be an effective layer of protection at mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Booster availability

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the ages recommended for the COVID booster shots to include 16 and 17-year-olds, the city announced in a separate news release.

“CDC is strengthening its booster recommendations and encouraging everyone 16 and older to receive a booster shot, said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in the news release. “Although we don’t have all the answers on the Omicron variant, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against Omicron and other variants.”

The Juneau Public Health Center, Genoa Healthcare, Juneau Urgent Care and Family Center are all providing boosters by walk-in and appointment. The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium is also providing the boosters by appointment, according to the city.

Residents can call the city’s COVID-19 hotline at 907-586-6000 to schedule a vaccine or booster appointment.

Self-tests available

The city, the public health center and Juneau Police Department are all distribution sites for free COVID-19 self-tests, according to the city.

The rapid antigen tests can be taken at home and returns results in 15 minutes, according to the city.

Currently, people can pick up two tests per family, and residents are advised not to pick up self-tests if they’re feeling sick.

The full list of self-test distribution sites includes: City Hall cash offices, all Juneau Public Libraries, Juneau Public Health Center, Juneau Police Department and Dimond Park Aquatic Center.

Positive results won’t be counted by the state, according to the city, but residents are asked to report positive tests to the public health department at (907)-465-3353 to learn about possible treatment offices.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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