Under mounting pressure as local businesses continue to shutter in the wake of crippling COVID-19 mandates, the unelected Acting Mayor of Anchorage Austin Quinn-Davidson signed Emergency Order 17 in what she called a “response to the changing conditions of COVID-19.”

Anchorage Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson

The latest order eases up on controversial restrictions she imposed Dec. 1 while keeping many other limits in place. The order takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021, at 8 a.m. and remains in place until revoked.

Quinn-Davidson’s previous order prohibited all restaurants, bars and diners from offering in-door services, a move that has caused several businesses – including the historic Peggy’s Restaurant – to close down, at least temporarily.

Several local restaurants were considering reopening despite the Quinn-Davidson’s orders, but were waiting to see if she would ease up first. While the new order allows restaurants to open at 25% capacity that is still far more restrictive than the 50% capacity plan which restaurant owners proposed earlier this month.

In the last month, COVID case rates in Anchorage have dropped by more than half and continue to decrease. At no point did hospitals reach capacity, despite repeated dire warnings from the acting mayor and her staff.

“We came perilously close to overwhelming our health care system before the holidays, but thanks to the personal sacrifices Anchorage residents made, we’re ready to transition to EO-17, which gently loosens limitations, while remaining focused on public health measures,” she said on Dec. 29.

Her latest order sets forth the following: 

  • Indoor gatherings remain limited to six people, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Specific exceptions are included for drive-in events, classrooms, and political and religious gatherings.
  • Bars and restaurants may operate indoor seated table service only up to 25% capacity. All alcohol service must stop by 11 p.m. each day.
  • Organized sports are closed to indoor competition between different teams.
  • Indoor gyms and fitness centers are limited to 50% capacity.
  • Salons and personal care service providers are limited to 50% capacity.
  • Entertainment facilities are limited to 25% capacity.
  • All retail and other public-facing businesses are limited to 50% building occupancy.

Businesses or entities that have questions about Anchorage’s COVID-19 response can email or call Alaska 2-1-1 or 343-4019.

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Anchorage bars and restaurants can open at 25% on Jan. 1

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.