She’s late to the game, but Anchorage’s unelected Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson is now intently interested in a plan to partially reopen the city’s bars and restaurants. First developed and presented to her by Anchorage restaurant and bar owners two weeks ago, the North Star Plan aims to remove portions of Quinn-Davidson’s crippling mandates that have closed all indoor service at restaurants, bars and breweries through the end of the year.
After ignoring the idea for two weeks, on Dec. 20, Quinn-Davidson sent an email to Anchorage Assembly members claiming that her ongoing meetings with representatives from the hospitality industry have resulted in a strategy for how to implement the North Star Plan. She will announce the details at the Dec. 22 regular Assembly meeting.
The timing of the announcement, however, comes two days after conservative Assemblywoman Jamie Allard introduced a memo for the Dec. 22 Assembly meeting stating that she was going to propose terminating Quinn-Davidson’s ban on indoor dining and recommending that the acting mayor accept the North Star Plan. Allard said she submitted her proposal on Dec. 18 at the request of hospitality business owners who felt like Quinn-Davidson was ignoring their detailed strategy to reopen safely in order to save their livelihoods.
Allard has repeatedly asked to attend meetings between Quinn-Davidson and representatives from the hospitality industry, but has so far been denied. Earlier this month, she was told by Quinn-Davidson’s office, via email, that her presence was “unnecessary.”
“This is my constituency and I want to be involved in these meetings,” Allard told the Watchman Dec. 21. “They’re not allowing me to represent my constituency in the capacity I should. The administration needs to be transparent with all elected officials that represent their community.”
Quinn-Davidson’s Dec. 20 email to assembly members noted that she has been doing “collaborative work” with the hospitality industry and that it “occurred to me that while we are in regular contact – through meetings, emails, texts, and calls throughout the week – it would likely be helpful for you to receive a brief update on that work.”
According to Quinn-Davidson, participants have “discussed a number of ideas that we could fold into a reopening of indoor dining – the North Star plan; a plan from Mesa, CO; and ideas relating to improved ventilation, to name a few.”
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
The next meeting, which Allard is not permitted to attend, is Tuesday morning, Dec. 22. Quinn-Davidson said she will be discussing “how best to move toward reopening with this group at that time. I will include an update on this meeting in my Mayor’s report at your Tuesday evening meeting.”
Quinn-Davidson’s renewed interest in opening local businesses comes on the heels of the Dec. 19, “Day of Reckoning,” in which at least four Anchorage eateries opened in defiance of her emergency order. According to patrons, long lines of people waited for to sit inside and enjoy a meal from the struggling eateries. Quinn-Davidson’s code enforcers were also out, and slapped at least one $300 fine on the owner of Jackie’s Place for allowing indoor dining.
- Click here to read the North Star Plan for reopening Anchorage’s hospitality industry.
- Click here for information on how to participate in the Dec. 22 Anchorage Assembly meeting.