Gov. Dunleavy says state opens on Friday

The state of Alaska will be opened back up on Friday, May 22, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said today. All businesses will be able to be open, including churches, libraries, gyms, and other facilities.

There’s no mandate from the state to the individual communities that they must open, however. Anchorage has lagged in opening businesses, for instance.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz will not be briefing the community on his decision about when Anchorage will open until Friday.

The governor said today it’s time to rely on Alaskans to take personal responsibility.

“We believe we can manage this virus. There was a time when we thought this virus was going to manage us,” Dunleavy said. “We need to get our economy up and running, our society up and running.”

He acknowledged the wear and tear on people’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and the need for people to have access to social opportunities that contribute to a good life. He also noted that the state is better prepared for spikes in cases of coronavirus, and that the personal protective gear and testing is in place.

Dunleavy said the state will embark on a robust education campaign and he’ll be doing town hall meetings around the state to get feedback from people of Alaska.

“We are entering a new phase in Alaska,” he said.

In that phase, the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers is still in effect, and so are restrictions for visitors at senior homes and prisons. Health mandates 15 (elective medical/dental), 17 (commercial fishing), and 18 (intrastate travel) remain in effect. Gatherings and festivals should be scheduled only after consulting with public health officials.

The disaster declaration for COVID-19 is still in effect, Dunleavy said.

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