Anchorage’s Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson is slightly easing up on her COVID mandates while reminding residents of her power to shut the city down again if they do not follow orders.
Claiming Anchorage must “loosen restrictions in a way consistent with public health,” Quinn-Davidson issued emergency order 18 which goes into effect Feb. 1.
The new order comes at a time when COVID seems to be in steady decline. As of Jan. 29, only 29 people were listed as hospitalized in Anchorage due to the virus, and daily case counts have dropped to Sept. 2020 levels.
Despite the waning numbers, Quinn-Davidson’s latest mandate begins by lamenting the fact that the “vast majority of Anchorage is unvaccinated, and we are aware of new more contagious variants of COVID-19.” She stops short of mandating wearing of one face mask overtop another, but strongly suggests the practice.
Quinn-Davidson’s new order maintains mask mandates for all residents in public settings. It also slightly increases gathering sizes and loosens a few restrictions on businesses and sporting events.
While dancing and loud music are still banned, capacity for bars and restaurants will go from 25% to 50%, and they can extend alcoholic beverage service an additional hour, to midnight. Similarly, salons and personal care services are going from 25% to 50% capacity. Fitness venues will remain at 50% capacity. Quinn-Davidson will also allow bingo halls, theaters, private clubs and other entertainment facilities to go from 25% to 50% capacity.
Indoor gatherings limits will increase from six up to 10 people (with food or drink) and 15 people without food or drink. Outdoor gathering limits are going from 10 people to 30 people (with food or drink) and up to 50 people without food or drink.
Local sports teams will be able to compete with other squads from within Anchorage’s municipal boundaries, so long as strict – albeit somewhat arbitrary – COVID protocols are maintained.
All players and coaches must mask when arriving or departing from an indoor athletic event and must maintain six feet separation when not competing (like sitting on the bench). Players, however, are now free to compete normally so long as it’s a real game and not merely practice. Scrimmages allow players to be within 10 feet of each other.
Masks must be worn “at all times” except when players are really getting after it during actual games against players from other teams. This includes sports like basketball, volleyball and even wrestling. All competing players – even those who have been vaccinated – are required to show a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of competition.