Anchorage churches restricted to 50% capacity under mayor’s latest order

    Beginning Monday, Aug. 31, Anchorage area churches will be allowed to open at 50% capacity. This is up from the 15-person limit which had been in effect for the past month.

    Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced the pending changes during his weekly press briefing on Aug. 28. The new order will allow bars, breweries, nightclubs and similar outfits to provide indoor service at 50% capacity, as can gyms, bingo halls, theaters and other entertainment facilities.

    Most indoor gatherings, however, are limited to 30 people, while most outdoor gatherings involving food and drink can have up to 50 people. Outdoor gatherings without food or drink can be as large as 100 people.

    The mayor’s decision to let churches and political events open at 50% capacity comes after a month in which several high-profile churches refused to limit worship services to just 15 people. Both Anchorage Baptist Temple and Cornerstone Church held multiple gatherings this month with many more than 15 attendees.

    A common criticism of the 15-person limit was the fact that churches were treated differently than retail and grocery stores. Berkowitz did not say why he change his approach to places of worship. When asked whether recent protests against his COVID-19 mandates have had any impact on the shape of his latest emergency order, he leaned into the microphone and emphatically stated, “No.”

    “I mean the decisions we make are decisions made on science, on data, not on public opinion,” he emphasized. “I know there are various interest groups with special concerns about their businesses or their political agenda or other items, but the responsibility that we have is to protect the entire community.”

    Berkowitz tried to clarify that he does pay attention to the public and tries to incorporate “positive constructive suggestions” he hears, but ultimately his decisions “science driven,” he asserted.

    Berkowitz acknowledged, “Had we bent to public opinion we would never have had these mandates – or at least vocal public opinion, because I think there is a big difference between vocal public opinion and where the silent majority is. Had we bent to those kind of louder voices, we would never had done anything.”

    Berkowitz has repeatedly claimed that his emergency orders have widespread, yet silent, support, even while large and increasingly frequent rallies and protests against his mandates have cropped up across the city.

    The newest order will stay in place for at least two weeks beginning Aug. 31. Click here to read 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


    1. 174476 398613This internet web site may possibly be a walk-through its the data you wanted in regards to this and didnt know who should. Glimpse here, and youll completely discover it. 166470

    Leave a reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here


    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)


    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

    With Alaska’s chief justice to retire in 2021, judge selection process must be fixed

    Chief Justice Joel Bolger will retire from Alaska’s Supreme Court on June 30 next year, creating yet another vacancy on Alaska’s highest...

    Moving Gov. Dunleavy off the fence

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy has squandered his political capital and mandate through fits and starts. To be sure, he has faced unprecedented problems...

    Retired Lieutenant General to Alaska: Biden is coming for our guns

    With every passing day it appears more likely Joe Biden will become our next president. From the illegal vote counting, vote harvesting,...

    Alaska can solve budget crisis by ending unconstitutional appropriations

    “Defunding power cost equalization would gut a lifeline for rural Alaska” was published by ADN on Nov. 10. Meera Kohler expertly laid...

    News tips