Many of Anchorage’s COVID-19 restrictions become recommendations on Monday. Here is an overview of the changes.
The Anchorage Assembly voted last week to revoke most COVID-19 restrictions in the city and instead turned those demands into recommendations. The change officially takes effect on Monday.
The city’s mask order will remain in place, along with quarantine and isolation requirements. But physical distancing and other corporate rules and collection size limits are set to become warnings.
“Nothing about it, of course, changes the ability of a business or restaurant or event planner to impose limits that they believe are appropriate for their particular business,” the lawyer said. municipal Kate Vogel last week.
Public health officials continue to recommend that Alaskans wear masks in public, avoid large gatherings, wash their hands frequently and get vaccinated to limit the spread of COVID-19.
An important part of the city’s response to COVID-19 that does not change is the Anchorage-wide mask mandate. Municipality residents are still required to wear masks in public and communal places, but fully vaccinated employees working away from the public are not required to wear masks.
Under the municipality’s separate masking order, businesses and building owners can still deny entry to anyone who does not comply with the order and can demand that they leave.
Additionally, companies should always notify their employees and others of known exposure to COVID-19. People who could be contagious with COVID-19, either through close contact with someone with the disease, a positive test, or symptoms, “should stay home for the amount of time recommended by the CDC, except to look for medical care and testing ”, the existing order states.
The assembly revoked collection restrictions, turning them into notices instead. The changes advise that indoor gatherings with food and drink be limited to 25 people, while indoor gatherings without should be limited to 35 people. During gatherings, people are always advised to stand 6 feet apart.
The previous requirements did not apply to gatherings such as educational settings or places of political expression or worship.
Previously, gatherings had to have some kind of diary available for contact tracing if participants were exposed to the virus. Now, in the modified order, that is also a recommendation.
The old city requirement that people space 6 feet apart inside Anchorage businesses is also becoming optional. The recommendation applies to all kinds of businesses in Anchorage, including restaurants and bars, entertainment facilities like bingo halls and theaters as well as personal care businesses like spas and hair salons. .
Restaurants, bars and brasseries will no longer be required to space different groups of people 6 feet apart, but are advised to do so instead. In addition, bars and restaurants will not be required to limit their service to people seated at the table.
Additionally, restrictions on indoor dancing and live performances will become warnings under the new change.
As with gatherings, restaurants and bars will be advised – but not required – to keep a guest diary that tracks who has been to the facility in the event of an exposure.
Arcades, bingo halls and theaters and other entertainment facilities are no longer required to space customers and staff 6 feet apart and do not require customers to sit down for food and beverage service, although may this always be encouraged by new changes.
Keeping a guest diary is also becoming optional for entertainment facilities.
The revised ordinance now advises, instead of requiring, that large crowds do not form at the start or end of sporting events. A limit of no more than four spectators per athlete at indoor events as well as a ban on food service during indoor sporting events also becomes optional.
In indoor competitions that only involve municipal teams, athletes are advised to stay six feet from each other when not playing.
Also recommended, but no longer mandatory, as part of the revised city ordinance: Pre-competition COVID-19 testing for wrestlers and participants in indoor tournaments that host teams from outside of Anchorage for sports at “high risk” of transmission, as indicated in the guidelines.
Teams are also encouraged, but will no longer be required, to have pre-competition testing completed before leaving the city or state for an event.
Recreational facilities like gymnasiums and swimming pools are now recommended, but not required, to maintain 6 feet between people who exercise. A requirement that facilities provide markings to indicate where participants should stand during training classes to maintain physical distance is now becoming optional. Hammams may also open under the revised order; previously they had to remain closed.
Previous requirements for daycares, such as daily staff and child screening as well as temperature checks, are now recommendations.
Additionally, daycares are still encouraged – but no longer necessary – to inform families of COVID-19 exposures, and vice versa.