A man wears a cloth face covering in downtown Juneau on May 1, 2020. Democratic lawmakers have called on Gov. Mike Dunleavy to issue a mandate for wearing masks in public. Large spikes in cases counts Saturday and Monday show the need for action lawmakers wrote in a letter to the governor. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

A man wears a cloth face covering in downtown Juneau on May 1, 2020. Democratic lawmakers have called on Gov. Mike Dunleavy to issue a mandate for wearing masks in public. Large spikes in cases counts Saturday and Monday show the need for action lawmakers wrote in a letter to the governor. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

State lawmakers call for mask mandate

High case counts show need for masks, lawmakers say

State lawmakers are calling for a mandate requiring cloth face coverings in public, citing two large, single-day COVID-19 case increases as a sign action needs to be taken, according to a press release from the House Majority.

Seven representatives, all Democrats, singed a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy urging a mandate.

“Wearing face coverings in public is a simple and highly effective measure we should all practice to protect one another,” the letter said. “But the most effective way we can achieve this compliance will be through your leadership and guidance by issuing an additional health mandate.”

The governor held a rare Sunday press conference this week to announce a single-day increase of 27 cases, most of them in the Anchorage area. On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Social Services reported there had been another large single-day increase of 20 cases, also mostly in Anchorage. No new cases have been reported in Juneau since May 28, according to state data.

The governor’s Health Alert 10 issued April 3, recommends people were cloth face coverings in public, but states explicitly it is not a mandate.

The letter was signed by Reps. Andi Story, Juneau; Tiffany Zulkosky, Bethel; Jonathan Kriess-Tomkins, Sitka and Matt Claman, Harriet Drummond, Zack Fields and Geran Tarr from Anchorage.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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

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