After six more hours of testimony, largely in opposition to a proposed mask mandate, the Anchorage Assembly will get another earful tonight, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m.
Once again impassioned residents crowded into the Anchorage Assembly Chambers on Sept. 29 to testify against a proposed mask mandate that is supported by the Assembly’s left-leaning majority. The meeting ended at midnight with many more people scheduled to testify tonight.
Mayor Dave Bronson has been vocal in opposing the mandate. On Wednesday night he noted that the seven-day moving average for COVID case onset, both for the state and municipality, “has been decreasing significantly since September 13th.”
“My question is what mandate caused those decreases?” he asked the Assembly during the Sept. 29 meeting. Afterwards he answered his question through a Facebook post.
“The answer: None. Cases are going down without mandates. The Anchorage Assembly is proposing a mask mandate which will infringe on the individual rights of Alaskans.”
According to Anchorage’s daily case count report, which is posted on the city website, new cases have been in steady decline for the past two and a half weeks.
The mayor is urging residents to turn out for round three of public testimony.
“I encourage you to come out and let your voice be heard about the proposed mask mandate ordinance that violates our freedoms as Alaskans,” he stated.
Joining Bronson in opposing the mandate are Assembly members Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy. Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel (who is up for a recall election on Oct. 26) introduced a modified version of the mandate that would have empowered residents to take neighbors and local business owners to administrative court for alleged violations of the mandate. She pulled her version on Sept. 28.
If the Assembly opts to pass the current proposal, it would require Anchorage residents to masks when they are “indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home; or outdoors at large crowded public events.”
Limited exceptions are made for those who cannot tolerate a mask for physical or mental reasons or for those working in environments where masks pose a danger. The mandate does not apply to children under age five or to presenters, musicians and other communicators who are 10 feet from their audience – nor does it apply to certain “sanctioned” sporting events.
The onus of enforcement, however, falls to employers who must “deny admittance to any individual who fails to comply with this ordinance and shall require or compel removal of such individuals from the premises.” This includes city buildings which are under direct control of the mayor.
The mandate would remain in place until Dec. 31 unless otherwise lifted by the Assembly.
- Click here to read the draft mask mandate ordinance.
- Click here to email or call Anchorage Assembly members.
- To contact Mayor Dave Bronson, call (907) 343-7100 or email Dave.firstname.lastname@example.org
- The public may submit written comments at www.muni.org/testimony. There is no sign-up list for in-person testimony. It is on a first come basis. Click here for more information.