Juneau mandates masks in order access buses, public facilities


    In order to ride public buses or utilize government owned property, residents of Alaska’s state capitol must now wear face coverings.

    The Juneau Assembly unanimously passed an ordinance on May 28 requiring bus passengers to wear a mask over their nose and mouth. With few exceptions, those who refuse are prohibited from using Juneau buses, libraries, ice rinks and other public facilities.

    As of May 29, Juneau had zero hospitalizations, and just four active cases.

    The city manager has leeway in terms of where and to what degree face coverings are required in settings such as pools and parks and recreation areas. Notices will be posted in each area detailing the requirements for specific facilities.

    Indoor areas are the only places where the mandate applies. Anyone caught violating the ordinance will be prohibited from entering, occupying, or remaining in the facility.

    According to the ordinance, the government will provide face coverings for anyone who cannot afford or locate one. If someone chooses not to comply with the law – or if they are denied services or access to public facilities – they can contact the Juneau Manager’s Office to seek a reasonable accommodation.

    The ordinance exempts children under age 12, people with physical or health issues that prevent them from wearing a mask, those who are deaf and people with trouble breathing. Public offices where people can easily stay six feet apart are also exempted.

    The mandate does not apply to private businesses or private property.

    The new ordinance is more stringent that state measures, which only recommend face coverings in public without mandating it by force of law.

    Since March 10, when Juneau recorded its first COVID-19 case, the area has had just 33 cases out of 2,317 total tests. As of May 29, it had zero hospitalizations, and just four active cases.

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    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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