Details on mandate change scarce, few changes for now

Details on mandate change scarce, few changes for now

Protocols are already in place, but more information is needed

It’s not yet clear what changes, if any, will be made to the personnel and resources currently deployed at the state’s airports, including Juneau International Airport, following a change in travel regulations from Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Current state travel regulations say out-of-state arrivals must provide negative COVID-19 test results from the past 72 hours, or get tested at the airport upon arrival and quarantine for 14 days or until negative results come back.

At a news conference Tuesday evening Dunleavy said now test results must be provided by all nonresidents arriving in the state, eliminating the option of being tested at the airport upon arrival. But that service will still be provided to Alaska residents returning to the state, and City and Borough of Juneau officials say it’s too soon to know if the testing site at the airport is going to come down.

[Governor stands firm on mask mandate, announces travel rule changes]

There will still be ongoing testing at Juneau International Airport, said Mila Cosgrove, who heads the city’s Emergency Operations Command, and there will still be personnel needed to greet and direct travelers through the appropriate processes. All pandemic-related staff at the airport, including Capital City Fire/Rescue personnel, are there through a contract with the state which runs until Aug.31, Cosgrove said.

Whether or not that contract will be renewed is unknown, she said.

Asked for specifics of the mandate, Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner referred the Empire to the Department of Health and Social Services for clarification. DHSS did not immediately respond to request for comment. Dunleavy said the new rules wouldn’t go into effect until Aug. 11, giving travelers and companies time to adjust their plans if necessary.

Alaska Airlines spokesperson Tim Thomson said the company already had notifications in place on its website about various travel restrictions in states the airline services. Once the details of the mandate are released, Alaska Airlines will update its website accordingly, he said.

“There are procedures that are in place, we’re just waiting for more information,” Thomson said Wednesday in an interview. “It’s noted on our website, we make an announcement at the gate and there’s plenty of time in the booking process (to inform customers).”

The DHSS website said current protocols would be in place until Aug. 10, and more information about the change will be issued this week and posted to the state’s COVID-19 information webpage.

A sign at the Juneau International Airport on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, guiding arriving passengers through the correct stations for paperwork checks and screening. Nonresident out-of-state arrivals will have to provide negative COVID-19-test results upon arrival under a revised travel mandate from Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

A sign at the Juneau International Airport on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, guiding arriving passengers through the correct stations for paperwork checks and screening. Nonresident out-of-state arrivals will have to provide negative COVID-19-test results upon arrival under a revised travel mandate from Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.

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