The long awaited COVID vaccine may have arrived in Alaska, but state and local officials are saying that everyone should continue masking their face indefinitely.

The Juneau Assembly has extended its mask mandate until June 2021.

“While the COVID-19 vaccine is currently being rolled out in Juneau, masking is till essential,” a Dec. 18 statement from the Juneau Borough said. “It will still be some months until the vaccine is widely available to the general population. In addition, information is limited on how effective the vaccine is at reducing transmission of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and how long protection lasts. Given this, vaccinated individuals should continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves and others, including masking.”

The Juneau mandate, which would have expired on Dec. 20, requires residents to mask up when they are indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home and when they are outdoors and unable to maintain a six-foot distance from non-household members. There are a few exceptions for those with disabilities and children under five years.

The extension of Juneau’s mask mandate falls in line with a Dec. 16 statement by State Epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin who said vaccinated Alaskans should not think they can stop social distancing, mask wearing or hand washing because the vaccine does not guarantee that they are 100% free of the virus, and they “might still be able to spread it.”

“The answer is we don’t know yet,” he said of the possibility that vaccinated people might be able to spread the virus. “So, we are going to continue to follow the science in the weeks and months ahead.”

In terms of how long the vaccine will be effective, that too is unknown.

“We’ll just have to follow the science on this, and I don’t think we’ll know the answer to that question for many months,” McLaughlin said.

The massive roll out of vaccines comes at a time when daily COVID case counts are already beginning to decline in Alaska, despite the fact that vaccines were not available.

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Vaccinated or not, Juneau residents must mask it until June 2021

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.


  • Jm says:

    Fake news. Bad journalism. Covid cases in Alaska are certainly not declining in any consistent form. What kind of BS is this

    • Joshua Bennett says:

      Cases? They aren’t going to decline it’s called a virus. It’s what they do. You can’t stop them. It has to make the rounds. If anything we are just prolonging things. Not to mention the PCR tests have at least a 60% up to a 97% false positive. And almost all who “test positive” wouldn’t even know they had it if they never got tested because it’s just another cold virus.
      With a 99.98% survival rate accounting for all age groups.
      So wear a mask if you want, leave the other grownups alone

  • AKisFookt says:

    The masks and shutdown bs will never be rescinded until you fight back.

  • Carol Allums says:

    This order is crap. Why bother with a vaccine if you are still in going to run around with a mask and do the social distancing? And, if I hear the phrase, follow the science, again I am going to scream.

  • Carol Allums says:

    If politicians were so invested in science there would be no abortions.

  • Dan says:

    If the survival rate is 97 to 99 percent, how much higher does the survival rate climb by taking the vaccine? If my first shot of vaccine is from the Pfizer vaccine, what happens if the second shot isn’t available but the Moderna is. Are they the same? I’m thinking that we are all being duped by the new government religion and the media. I only pray we can survive them.

  • Mudmner says:

    It is past time to move the state capital to the population center. Plenty of real estate avaiif… or when employees return to offices.

  • Mudmner says:

    Juneau is more broken than ever. Move the capital and let Juneau heal. Let it again be a quaint Mining, Logging and Tourist Town.

  • john gault says:

    How are masks effective. people are allowed to wear anything, there is no standard, masks don’t stop a virus that is aerosolized. No scientific studies support that masks do any good. Who are these TYRANTS that dictate policies that harm business and deny our fundamental freedoms? ! State Epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin and Juneau Assembly members; they should hear from outraged citizens! My Face My Choice! Those who want to believe masks keep them safe can wear them and they are “safe”, there should be no right to force someone else to wear a mask and pretend that it is effective.