Kriner indoors

At least two more Anchorage restaurants are open for business as of Aug. 6, joining Kriner’s Diner and Little Dipper Diner in making a stand against Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s order to shut down all indoor dining due to COVID-19 concerns.

Jackies place

Jackie’s Place is open for one day only on Aug. 6.

Jackie’s Place is open Aug. 6 – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – for just a single day after owner Janice Johnson spoke with Kriner’s owner Andy Kriner.

“I’m just going to do it for today so we can stand up for Andy,” Johnson told the Watchman. “I’m not wanting to get in trouble here or anything like that, but I feel it is just not fair right now. If they put us all down, then there is no way of helping each other, but I’m definitely with his decision.”

Wings N’ Things is following suit, according to a notice on their website.

“Wings N’ Things has decided to join the group of local restaurants opposing Mayor Berkowitz’s recent shut-down order,” it states. “We will be welcoming anyone wishing to dine-in. Please respect the social distancing and mask ordinances should you decide to do so.”

The open defiance of Berkowitz’s 15th emergency order began on Monday when Kriner’s Diner chose to take a stand against what owner Andy Kriner believes is an unfair mandate on Anchorage restaurants.

We have put our whole lives into this restaurant and don’t want to lose everything we’ve worked so hard to obtain.

They mayor has now filed three lawsuits against Kriner’s according to a report from KTUU. The first fine is $300 and then $500 for every day afterwards. Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel told KTUU that both Kriner’s and Little Dipper Diner have been fined so far.

Despite fines and lawsuits, the family owned Little Dipper Diner joined Kriner’s on Aug. 5, stating on Facebook that they are not trying to be unlawful, but they believe the mayor’s latest order “is just so unfair.”

“We just will not survive this month of closure after the last one, we barely survived that,” the statement noted. “The municipality is not helping us or anyone other restaurant or bar in any way. We have put our whole lives into this restaurant and don’t want to lose everything we’ve worked so hard to obtain. I hope you all will support our decision.”

Several other restaurants are rumored to be opening soon. Updates will be provided.

The mayor’s 15th emergency order imposes limits on most outdoor gatherings and restricts bars and nightclubs to takeout or delivery. Restaurants and breweries are banned from indoor service and  bingo halls and theaters must close completely. Churches can’t accommodate more than 15 congregants.

Berkowitz has defended his order, saying it is necessary to keep Anchorage safe from coronavirus. As of Aug. 5, the city of 290,000 residents had just 24 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Two of those are on ventilators. Hospital capacity includes 119 available non-ICU beds, 41 ICU beds and 121 available ventilators in addition to 26 pediatric ventilators. Over the past five months, Anchorage has recorded 12 COVID-19 related deaths.

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Momentum builds as more Anchorage restaurants defy mayor’s shutdown orders

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.