mask

Masking requirement dropped for most city facilities

Schools, the hospital, the airport and public transit are subject to different rules.

Masking is no longer required in most City and Borough of Juneau facilities, the city announced.

However, masking is still recommended in CBJ facilities, according to the city, and federal rules mean masks are still required on Capital Transit, CAPITAL AKcess and in the Juneau International Airport.

Juneau School District and Bartlett Regional Hospital’s boards handle masking policies for schools and the hospital respectively. Masks are currently required inside school district facilities, and the Juneau School District Board of Education is scheduled to discuss masking during its Tuesday night meeting, according to the city. Masking remains required in all patient care areas of the hospital.

Under the new rules, masks are specifically optional in City Hall and CBJ office buildings, Juneau Public Libraries, Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Dimond Park Aquatic Center and Augustus Brown Pool, Dimond Park Field House, Treadwell Arena, Zach Gordon Youth Center and Shéiyi X̱aat Hít Youth Shelter.

The change to masking requirements in city facilities follows the city lowering the community risk level to Level 1 —Minimal on Monday, Feb. 28. Under the current risk level, masks were recommended in indoor public spaces not owned by the city, but there was no broader masking requirement.

Deputy City Manager Robert Barr previously told the Empire there are many favorable factors that led to a lower community risk level. These include the availability of high-quality masks, improving access to therapeutics for people who may be at increased risk, local vaccination rate and a reduction of people calling out sick in both the public and private sector.

“There isn’t any one specific thing, but there are many things that are looking good,” Barr said. “Really, across the board all the indicators we look at are looking positive.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises wearing a mask in indoor spaces for those 2 or older who are in an area with a high COVID-19 Community Level and for those who are sick and need to be around others or are caring for someone with COVID-19. COVID-19 Community Level is a tool available on the CDC’s website that takes into account the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied and the total number of new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days within a community.

KN95 masks, a type of mask that according to the CDC more effective than either cloth masks or surgical masks, are freely available in Juneau. A box of the masks can be picked up at the City Hall Cash Office, all Juneau Public Libraries, Juneau Public Health Center and Juneau Police Department, according to the city.

Free rapid home tests are available at those locations, too.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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