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    Anchorage Assembly could mandate masks for all business employees

    AlaskaWatchman.com

    The Anchorage Assembly will consider a regulation mandating that all businesses require face masks for their employees. The issue is set for discussion at the June 2 Assembly meeting.

    If passed, employers would need to supply employees with the coverings and enforce compliance with the law. It does not apply to customers.

    The proposal comes at a time when Anchorage has 41 active cases of COVID-19 and just two current hospitalizations.

    Also on the agenda is a resolution on whether to terminate sections of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s COVID-19 emergency orders.

    Submitted by Assembly Members Suzanne LaFrance, John Weddleton and Jamie Allard the resolution calls for a review of the mayor’s emergency orders. It notes that the Assembly has the power to terminate measures that it no longer deems necessary.

    In making a determination, the Assembly will examine each of the mayor’s orders separately. These include the temporary suspension of plastic bag fees and the ability for stores to provide curbside pickup for marijuana, liquor and wine.

    The Assembly will also look at mandates on retail businesses, personal care services, restaurants, childcare, fitness centers, social and religious gatherings, libraries, museums, swimming pools, theaters, bowling allies, organized sports and other entities.

    On May 25, Berkowitz eased many of his rules as the city moved to phase 3 of reopening. Most businesses and other entities are now allowed to operate at 100% capacity so long as they comply with Berkowitz’s orders requiring face masks, social distancing and hygiene protocols.

    Deliberation over whether to require face masks for all business employees comes at a time when Gov. Mike Dunleavy has eased health mandates statewide.

    The state reports that there are 89 active cases of COVID-19 in Alaska as of June 1 with just 10 current hospitalizations.

    TAKING ACTION

    The number of people allowed in the Assembly Chambers is limited. See the Assembly website at www.muni.org/Assembly to read protocols on testifying in person. Those who wish to provide written comments can send emails to Testimony@anchorageak.gov by 2 p.m. on June 2. These comments will become part of the meeting record. In the subject line of the email, reference the agenda item you are providing testimony for. Those who wish to testify via phone, need to email Testimony@anchorageak.gov by 2 p.m. on June 2. This should include one’s name, phone and the agenda item number/title for which they wish to provide testimony. The subject line of the email should state, “Phone Testimony.” When the Assembly reaches this agenda item, the clerk will phone the person at the number they provide. Each person will have three minutes to provide testimony on each item they sign up for. The Assembly meeting begins at 5 p.m.

    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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