It turns out that a high vaccination rate does not always translate into more personal liberties after all. Despite being one of the most vaccinated areas in Alaska, mask mandates are back in Juneau.

Regardless of one’s COVID vaccination status, the City and Brough of Juneau’s Emergency Operations Center is once again requiring all people to cover their faces when they are in city and borough facilities. This includes city hall, swimming pools, libraries, museums and other locations that already mandate masks such as public transportation, the airport, schools and the local hospital.

Juneau officials are citing concern about an uptick in COVID cases over the past two weeks (July 4-18), during which time 54 people tested positive for the virus. The borough still considers that a “minimal” risk, according to its website, and hospital capacity and public health capacity are both deemed “stable.”

Juneau also has one of the highest percentage of vaccinated residents in the state at 73%. Nevertheless, the local government will mandate masks, and “encourage” everyone – vaccinated and non-vaccinated, to revert once again to covering their faces in indoor spaces like grocery stores, restaurants, bars, gyms, and other indoor areas. The local government is also advising small social bubbles, outdoor socializing and social distancing.

Of the 54 new cases, 19% came from one cruise ship where 16 people tested positive and nine are now deemed “recovered.”

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Despite ‘minimal’ risk and high vax rates, Juneau reimposes mask mandate

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.