Anchorage’s Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson will not rescind her COVID mandates until 70% of Anchorage is vaccinated.
In imposing the vaccine requirement through Emergency Order 20, Quinn-Davison urged city residents to apply pressure on family, friends and neighbors so that Anchorage can open for the summer.
“The way we get there is through vaccines,” she said during the April 12 press conference. “Vaccines are what give me hope.”
To date, only 35.5% of Anchorage residents – ages 16 years and older – are deemed “fully vaccinated,” meaning they have either two doses of the Pfizer or Maderna shots or one of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The acting mayor dismissed concerns that there may be vaccine “hesitancy,” and instead focused on her theory that people just don’t have enough access. Her aim is to make a community-wide push in April and May to get to the 70% goal.
Until that occurs, Quinn-Davidson will impose the following on Anchorage residents:
- Individuals must continue to mask and physically distance in public.
- Outdoor gatherings and sporting do not have capacity limits and food and drink are allowed, but masking and physical distancing requirements remain in place.
- Indoor gathering limits remain in place – 25 people if there is food or drink, 35 without food or drink.
- Ballrooms, conference rooms and meeting spaces can have up to 140 people so long as distancing is maintained between tables.
- Restaurants, gym, entertainment venues, bars can remain open with masking and physical distancing.
- There can be four spectators per athlete for indoor sports.
Only two reporters asked questions during the virtual press conference. One person asked if the acting mayor was worried about being able to attain the 70% mark given that vaccination rates have slowed in Anchorage despite widespread availability for anyone over age 16.
“Yes, it’s attainable,” Quinn-Davidson replied. “We know that this is up to the public and the public can do the right thing.”
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She emphasized the importance of community-wide messaging, including putting pressure on others who have not been vaccinated.
“Talking with our friends and family and neighbors and maybe even having some hard conversations about how important getting vaccinated is – I think the more we do that the closer well get to that 70 percent,” she said. “I think It’s important to remember how much impact we all have on our peers.”
Quinn-Davidson then shared a personal story about how she and her “wife” convinced a friend into getting the COVID shot, saying they would love to have her over for dinner once she was vaccinated.
She also noted how influential people in the community, like pastors, can help persuade the unvaccinated to get the shots.
Increasingly, local and state governments are using “incentives” to increase vaccination rates. The State of Alaska recently issued tips for nurses and educators on how to persuade people with religious arguments.