SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Governor Issues COVID-19 Health Mandate Closing Public Dine-in Establishments Serving Food or Beverages; Pick-up Service Allowed With Restrictions


March 17, 2020
Tuesday PM

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - Tuesday evening to prevent or slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska issued its third & fourth health mandates. 

The Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020 provides for health mandates to be issued when deemed necessary by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Chief Medical Officer, the Alaska Division of Public Health, and the Office of the Governor.

Mandate 3.1 - By order of the Governor, beginning March 18 at 5 p.m., and continuing until April 1 at 5 p.m., the following mandates are in effect:

With the goal of minimizing in-person interaction in enclosed spaces, effective March 18 at 5 p.m. all bars, breweries, restaurants, food and beverage kiosks or trucks, and other establishments serving food or beverages within the State of Alaska shall be closed to the public dine-in service.

All buffets and salad bars are closed to self-service. A copy of this order, or a sign communicating the closure information, shall be prominently posted by the person having control of the establishment. 

Places of public accommodation are encouraged to offer food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, and to use precautions in doing so to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing.

In offering food or beverage, a place of public accommodation subject to this section may permit up to five members of the public at one time in the place of public accommodation for the purpose of picking up their food or beverage orders, so long as those individuals are at least 6 feet apart from one another while on premises.

All entertainment facilities shall be closed to the public, including theaters, gyms and fitness centers, bowling alleys and bingo halls. 

The restrictions do not apply to any of the following:

  • Places of public accommodation that offer food and beverage not for on premises consumption, including grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries, with the exception of their self-service buffets and salad bars.
  • Health care facilities, pharmacies, child care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities.
  • Crisis shelters, soup kitchens, or similar institutions.
  • Employee cafeterias within a business, with the exception of their self-service buffets and salad bars.
  • Restaurants and food courts inside the secured zones of airports.

These measures are being implemented to protect all Alaskans and the DHSS appreciates the public and business community’s understanding of these mandates in an effort to mitigate the impacts of this virus.

Mandate 4 - Also Tuesday evening, he State of Alaska issued its fourth health mandate. 

Higher Risk: If you have traveled from an area with widespread, ongoing community spread such as Europe, China, and other countries (i.e., a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice Area) and are entering Alaska within the past 14 days you must:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with other household members.
  • Contact your employer and do not go to work or school for this 14-day period after you return.
  • CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice Area
    China, Iran, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City.

Medium Risk: If you have traveled anywhere outside of Alaska, (including the rest of the United States) within the past 14 days you must:

  • Keep your distance from others (about six feet or two meters)
  • This may mean not going to work or school if you cannot safely be distanced from others – especially if you traveled in a location where community transmission is occurring – contact your employer.
  • You must avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.

Health Guidance for Returning Travelers in the Higher and Medium Risk Groups

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. If you get sick with fever (>100.3°F), cough, or shortness of breath, please call your health care provider.
  3. Do not take mass transportation during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  4. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  5. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
  6. If you seek medical care for other reasons, such as dialysis, call ahead to your doctor and tell them about your recent travel.

All Alaskans should follow previous guidance including regular hand washing, cleaning surfaces and avoiding large gatherings (March 13 COVID-19 Health Alert: Recommendations for Keeping Communities Safe).

Child care facilities

Tuesday afternoon, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services recommended (not a mandate) that child care facilities stay open if they safely can do so. DHSS does not want children to be cared for by elders, because people aged greater than 60 years are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Employers are encouraged to talk to their workforce. The DHSS stated that children, while they may carry the disease, get sick from COVID-19 much less frequently than adults.

Until further notice, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services recommend that every child care site adhere to the following recommendations:

  • Follow aggressive measures to screen children for respiratory infection and do not allow any ill child into a child care center.
  • No child who has been outside of Alaska in the last 14 days should be allowed in a child care center.
  • No one who has a fever or respiratory symptoms should be allowed to work in a child care center.
  • Keep numbers below 10 for group settings.
  • Cohort kids, keeping the same group of kids together.
  • Adhere to social distancing (at least six feet) to limit mixing.
  • Spend time in well-ventilated spaces as much as possible.
  • Practice frequent and rigorous environmental cleaning.
  • No one over the age of 60 or with underlying medical conditions should be working in child care centers.

Families should consider alternative child care opportunities, if possible.

Long-term services, senior centers, adult day services

CDC guidance:

Tuesday, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) suspended statewide, all long-term services and supports that occur in congregate settings, including senior centers, adult day services, and any site-based day habilitation or supported employment activities where individuals gather together. DHSS is working with federal partners to determine if services may be offered in a more flexible manner within home settings. 

The state recognizes the importance of these settings and the services they provide, but is seeking to prevent harm to those served through the promotion of social distancing. Please continue to follow guidance posted on the State of Alaska COVID-19 website at

More guidance will be distributed through the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services’ (SDS) email subscriber list for providers and families as updates to service categories can be provided. If you are not yet a member of SDS E-Alerts, sign up here:


On the Web:

Alaska's latest information on COVID-19, visit

Edited By Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Source of News:

Alaska Department of Health & Human Services

Representations of fact and opinions in comments posted are solely those of the individual posters and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Send a letter to the

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2020
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews are considered protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper freelance writers and subscription services.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.