More

    Anchorage Assembly narrowly votes down face mask mandate for businesses

    AlaskaWatchman.com

    Anchorage business owners will not be forced to require face masks for all employees. The Assembly narrowly defeated the proposal by Assembly Member Forest Dunbar at its June 2 meeting.

    Dunbar argued that mandatory masks at all businesses were needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Widespread mask wearing also has a “symbolic value,” he said.

    “That is, if I go into a store and see other people are wearing masks, I think it helps,” he maintained. “Every time you see somebody in public, you think, ‘Oh, I forgot my mask,’ or ‘I should get a mask.’”

    The proposal failed, however, on a 6-5 vote.

    Assembly Member Crystal Kennedy said the measure was “just another mandate that is just wearing at people, people are tired of being told what to do and when to do it and where to do it.”

    Newly elected Assembly Member Jaime Allard agreed, and pointed out that many of her colleagues were in violation of the measure under consideration.

    “Part of the complication with the mask debate is that it has been saturated with politics,” Berkowitz said

    “I have watched every Assembly member and everybody visiting the Assembly – upstairs, downstairs, all around – we touch our faces, we move our masks, we take them on and off, so technically we can all just get cooties from each other at this moment,” she said. “I almost feel like this is a step. Why aren’t we asking people to wear gloves. Are we going to start having people wear hairnets to cover their hairs? It’s going too far. Let people have the freedom to choose whether they want to put a mask on or not.”

    When asked about his take on the idea, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz was noncommittal, but said he is working on a protocol mandating facemask for municipality workers.

    “Part of the complication with the mask debate is that it has been saturated with politics,” he said. “I find that to be a little bit troubling that people layer politics on top of a pandemic. I think the argument that you can’t ask people to wear a mask makes no sense to me. We ask people to wear clothes, you know, and there’s been no outcry against that that I have seen except in some particular quarters.”

    Anchorage has only 61 active cases of COVID-19 with just three current hospitalizations from the disease.

    The final vote had Assembly members Forest Dunbar, Suzanne LaFrance, Austin Quinn-Davidson, Pet Petersen and Meg Zaletel voting in favor of mandatory masks. Crystal Kennedy, Christopher Constant, Felix Rivera, Jamie Allard, Kameron Perez-Verdia and John Weddleton voted against it.

    Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

    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.

    Share this article

    Related articles

    Leave a reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Donate

    Alaska Watchman relies on the generous support of our readers. All donations go directly to supporting and expanding our news coverage. Please consider becoming a regular supporter.

    Select a Donation Option (USD)

    Enter Donation Amount (USD)

    Donate

    $
    Personal Info

    Donation Total: $100.00

    Stay Informed

    Receive breaking stories and analysis from the Alaska Watchman directly to your inbox for free.

    No spam ever. Guaranteed.

    Latest articles

    Abortion is the paramount political issue

    “The future of Alaska is at stake!” “The future of America is at stake!” Liberals, conservatives,...

    The ‘equity’ police are really after political power

    Both in Alaska and around the country we hear a lot these days about the quest for “equity” in city council meetings,...

    Ballot Measure 2 replaces fair elections with political trickery

    You’ve likely heard the saying that politicians are like diapers: they should be changed often, and for the same reason.

    Fairbanks resumes push to radicalize schools with LGBT, anti-Christian courses

    Wouldn't it make sense that if parents objected to the pornography in the proposed Fairbanks North Star Borough School District curriculum that...

    News tips