On April 22, Governor Dunleavy announced Health Mandate 016, reflecting Phase 1 of the Governor’s Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.  The Governor anticipates issuing information on Phases 2 through 5 of the Plan in the near future.

Phase 1 of the Plan permits limited openings of businesses, including restaurants, retail businesses, personal services businesses, and both public-facing and non-public-facing businesses, as well as limited operations of fishing charters, churches, gyms, remote lodges and camping, childcare, and day camps, effective April 24.  Strict requirements apply to any business that reopens, including the establishment of a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing practices and protocols for protecting employees and the public.

As an example of mandatory measures for reopening, a restaurant resuming table service dining must adhere to a long list of requirements that include:

  • limiting dining groups to household members only;
  • limiting dining capacity;
  • spacing tables at least 10 feet apart;
  • prohibiting walk-in customers and only accepting those with reservations;
  • requiring employees to wear fabric masks;
  • posting signage that customers with COVID-19 symptoms cannot enter the premises;
  • using disposable dinnerware if possible;
  • fully sanitizing tables and chairs between customers;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting the premises in compliance with CDC protocols;
  • Providing hand washing stations or sanitizer at customer entrances and in communal spaces;
  • Requiring frequent hand washing by employees;
  • training employees on COVID-19 requirements; and
  • conducting pre-shift employee screenings for symptoms of COVID-19 and prohibiting ill employees from reporting to work.

Other businesses must follow similar requirements tailored to the type of business.  Health Mandate 016 and specific requirements for businesses can be found here.

In addition, Phase 1 of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan eases the restrictions on intrastate travel and outdoor recreation, effective April 24.  Individuals or groups from the same household are allowed to travel between communities in Alaska so long as they adhere to precautions such as minimizing stops en route; using cloth masks when stopping for food or supplies; and washing hands or using hand sanitizer before exiting and upon entering their vehicles.