Alaska - COVID-19 Covered

Alaska

Total Cases: 104,574 (September 23)
Tests Administered: 56,886 (March 5)
Fatalities: 481 (September 23)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in Alaska can be found here.

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Dunleavy issued an order specifying that essential businesses and services include (May 5):
    • Healthcare Operations and Public Health (such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, veterinary clinics, funeral homes)
    • Critical Infrastructure (such as public works, transportation, essential construction, critical manufacturing, food and agriculture)
    • Financial Services (such as banks)
    • Public Safety Services (such as first responders, correctional facilities and officers)
    • All Other Essential Businesses (such as those providing food and other necessities of life, restaurants, newspapers and other media services, gas stations and related facilities, hardware stores, utility and repair services, those providing mailing and shipping services, educational institutions, those providing laundry services, home care businesses, nursing homes and adult care facilities, professional services, and childcare facilities)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • State lawmakers removed a proposed state stimulus from the budget that would have provided $1,000 checks to Alaskans out of work or working reduced hours because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (March 30)
  • Governor Dunleavy signed HB 308, to expand unemployment insurance benefits by waiving the one-week waiting period, increasing weekly benefit amounts and protecting workers affected by COVID-19. (March 26)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Alaska lawmakers have agreed to retroactively extend the state’s COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration as part of an effort to maintain state eligibility for food assistance benefits and other federal aid dollars. (April 30) 
  • Alaskan tribes will receive over $1 billion from the most recent $1.9 trillion federal COVID-19 relief bill. (April 4) 
  • Governor Dunleavy announced another $62 million in funding for the FEMA Lost Wages Assistance program. (September 18) 
  • Alaska extended a deadline for families to enroll in a new federal program providing up to $458 per eligible child to help pay for groceries. (September 2) 
  • Governor Dunleavy approved a $300 weekly increase in unemployment benefits for Alaskans. (August 13) 
  • The Alaska Department of Health & Social Services announced that $35 million of CARES Act funding will be distributed to nonprofits and faith-based organizations operating in the state. (July 10) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • The Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) received approval from Governor Dunleavy to begin distributing approximately $4 million in CARES Act funds to residential congregate care facilities to help address additional expenses incurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (November 6) 
  • Businesses that received any amount of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds will become eligible to apply for an additional CARES grant. (August 27) 
  • Governor Dunleavy expanded the eligibility requirements for businesses to receive CARES Act funding. (August 21) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopenings:

  • Acting Anchorage Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson issued a proclamation ending the city’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, citing a recent drop in COVID-19 cases and widely available vaccines. (May 26) 
  • The Alaska Department of Corrections announced it would open visitation on April 21 to prisoners and guests who are fully vaccinated. (April 20) 
  • Governor Dunleavy announced that effective immediately the COVID-19 vaccine would be available to all individuals 16 years of age or older who live or work in the state. (March 9) 
  • Alaska significantly expanded vaccine eligibility to include residents 55 years of age or older, as well as those under the age of 55 who meet certain qualifications. (March 3) 
  • Alaska announced it would no longer require travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test result when arriving in the state. (February 16) 
  • Governor Dunleavy introduced a bill that would extend the public health disaster emergency period to the end of the federal fiscal year, September 30, 2021, or until the commissioner of the Department of Health & Social Services certified that there was no longer an outbreak of COVID-19 or an imminent threat of an outbreak within Alaska. (January 25) 
  • Alaskans over 65 can begin receiving COVID vaccines on January 11. (January 4) 
  • The City of Anchorage began easing restrictions on certain businesses like restaurants, shops, and entertainment facilities on January 1. (December 29) 
  • Alaska received enough of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to inoculate nearly 62,000 residents, with second doses of both vaccines expected to arrive in early January. (December 22) 
  • The City of Juneau extended its mandatory mask mandate through June 2021. (December 17) 
  • Governor Dunleavy issued a Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration effective 12:00AM December 16 through January 15, 2021. (December 15) 
  • Alaska received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on December 14. (December 14) 
  • The Alaska Legislative Council approved a measure that required lawmakers, employees, and reporters to be screened for the coronavirus when entering the Capitol. (October 31) 
  • Alaska Department of Health & Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum provided further details of the state’s rules for nonresidents who travel into Alaska. All nonresidents arriving by air must either have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure or proof of a pending test result taken within 72 hours of departure. Travelers are required to upload a negative or pending test result into an online portal. Those who don’t have documentation of a negative test are asked to upload proof that a test has been completed within 72 hours and then quarantine while awaiting their results. Testing is available at airports for a fee. (August 4) 
  • According to the Department of Health & Social Services, travelers to Alaska would be charged $250 for an airport COVID-19 test. (August 7) 
  • Governor Dunleavy announced a face mask mandate for state workers and those who enter state-owned buildings and facilities. (July 22) 
  • Anchorage Mayer Ethan Berkowitz issued an order limiting gathering sizes and the number of people allowed in bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Indoor gatherings of more than 25 people will be prohibited, and outdoor gatherings involving food and drink will be limited to 50 people, with some exceptions. Restaurants and breweries will operate at 50 percent capacity, while bars and nightclubs will operate at 25 percent. Indoor entertainment and recreation venues will be limited to 50% capacity. (June 22) 
  • Some assisted living facilities in Alaska are opening for in-person visitation again, with some restrictions. (July 16) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • The Anchorage School District brought students in pre-K through second gradeas well as higher needs special education students through sixth grade, back into classrooms on November 16. (October 15) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Alaska colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 

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