Read the full text of Anchorage’s emergency order removing capacity restrictions on businesses


“Make it a Safe Spring”


Due to the individual actions of residents, the collective sacrifices required by our previous emergency orders, and a successful start of vaccination, the COVID-19 burden on our healthcare system has been reduced and Anchorage COVID-19 case counts have fallen to the level last seen in September 2020. This improvement warrants another careful loosening of restrictions. In order to preserve lives in our community, Anchorage must loosen restrictions in a way consistent with public health. In the month of March, public schools will continue a return to the classroom with secondary students, so more community members will be gathering relative to this fall. Fortunately, our frontline health care staff and many vulnerable Alaskans are fully vaccinated, reducing the strain on hospital staffing. Many of our educators have also been vaccinated. But a large majority of Anchorage is unvaccinated, and many still patiently wait to be eligible. We are aware of new, more contagious variants of COVID-19, which have already been detected in Anchorage. These more contagious variants make it more important than ever that six feet of physical distance really is a full six feet, and that masks comprising multiple layers are worn properly covering both the nose and mouth. The increasing rate of virus mutation since the beginning of the pandemic also increases the need to minimize virus transmission as each new infection is a new opportunity for the virus to mutate in ways that make it more likely to escape vaccine-induced antibodies. This order is designed to reduce restrictions while keeping the virus from reaching catastrophic levels.

The following findings about COVID-19 motivate these mandates and recommendations. First, COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. It moves from person to person through tiny respiratory droplets and aerosols that are released when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, talks, or sings. People become infected by inhaling these droplets or aerosols. Second, this virus spreads easily to people who are in close contact to a person with COVID 19, especially indoors, and especially when the contact lasts more than fifteen minutes. Third, even people with no symptoms can be highly infectious to the people around them. Fourth, the best ways to reduce transmission and prevent infection are to get vaccinated, keep a safe distance—at least 6 feet—away from people outside your household, and wear face coverings when outside your household. Because of the above, Anchorage now needs the following restrictions on public interactions to preserve health and save lives in our community.


1. Individuals. Everyone in the Municipality of Anchorage (the “Municipality”) shall limit outings and physical contact with those outside of their household. On the occasions when individuals leave home, they shall maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from any person outside their household whenever possible. Individuals, especially unvaccinated individuals, should avoid physically entering indoor spaces outside the home to the greatest extent possible, instead using curbside or delivery services, minimizing the number of shopping trips, and minimizing the number of household members on each outing. Individuals are required to wear a face covering or mask in public, as detailed in Emergency Order 13. Individuals are also strongly encouraged to practice recommended hygiene, including regular hand washing.

2. Requirements for Individuals Likely to be Contagious with COVID-19. Individuals likely to be contagious with COVID-19 are required to minimize contact with others as follows:

a. People who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (including the following symptoms when not attributable to other known causes: coughing, shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell) shall stay home except to seek medical care and testing.

b. Household members of those who are possibly contagious should exercise physical distancing and enhanced hygiene within the home, and refrain from leaving the home to the extent possible.

c. Individuals who learn that they have been a close contact of a positive case (within 6 feet for fifteen minutes during a 24-hour period) shall quarantine for the length of time directed by a public health professional. Vaccinated individuals and individuals who have recently been infected should check CDC guidance as they may not be required to quarantine.

d. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 shall remain in isolation during their infectious period, which is ten days following symptom onset (or a positive test date if asymptomatic) or for a different time period directed by their health care provider.

3. Recommendations for Travelers Entering Anchorage from Out-of-State. Alaska resident and non-resident travelers entering the Municipality of Anchorage from out-of state are strongly encouraged to choose one of the pre-travel or arrival testing options from the State’s Health Advisory No. 2. Unvaccinated individuals are also encouraged to adhere to strict social distancing for the first seven days after their arrival. Visitors, workers, and residents are finally encouraged to obtain a second test 5-14 days after arrival.

4. Gathering Limitations. All individuals must wear masks or face coverings and maintain six feet of physical distancing between household groups at all gatherings. Gatherings are defined as meetings or other events that bring together people from multiple households at the same time for a shared or group experience in a single room, space, or place such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, conference room, meeting hall, or other indoor or outdoor space. All indoor gatherings involving consumption of food or drink are limited to 25 people; indoor gatherings without food or drink are limited to 35 people. All outdoor gatherings involving consumption of food or drink are limited to 60 people; outdoor organized gatherings without food or drink are limited to 100 people. Additional requirements for gatherings, as well as exceptions to the limits above, are provided in Attachment I.

5. Hospitality Industry (Including Bars, Breweries, Restaurants, and Nightclubs). All restaurants, bars, breweries, nightclubs and similar entities may open and are limited to seated table service while ensuring six feet of physical distancing between groups of customers. Additional requirements for the hospitality industry are provided in Attachment D. This industry should continue to prioritize outdoor dining, take-out, and delivery service.

6. Bingo Halls, Theaters, Private Clubs, and Other Entertainment Facilities. Indoor entertainment facilities, including bingo halls, theaters, bowling alleys, and arcades are open with six feet of physical distancing between groups. Eating and drinking is permitted to the extent provided in Attachment H.

7. Organized Sports. Organized sports may conduct competitions to the extent provided in Attachment E.

8. Indoor Gyms, Recreation and Fitness Centers. Indoor gyms, recreation and fitness centers are open with six feet physical distancing required. Face coverings are required while exercising indoors. Additional requirements for indoor gyms and fitness centers are provided in Attachment F.

9. Salons and Personal Care Service Providers. Salons and personal care service providers are open with six feet of physical distancing between customers. These entities are limited in their ability to provide services that require the removal of a mask, such as beard trimming. Additional requirements for this industry are provided in Attachment G.

10. Retail and Other Public-Facing Businesses. Retail stores and all other public-facing businesses not mentioned above must operate in a manner sufficient to permit customers to have 6 feet of physical distance from other household groups. These businesses are encouraged to prioritize telephone and online ordering and to maintain their offerings of curbside, entryway, and delivery services.

11. Legible Visitor Logs Required. Any establishments serving the public in a sit-down setting, or for an in-person appointment or service lasting fifteen minutes or longer shall require all adult customers or clients to sign in, noting the date, with legible contact information including first and last name, phone number, and email address in case it is needed for state or local contact tracing efforts. This information may be kept electronically. This information must be retained by businesses for not less than 30 days. Information in the visitor log will not be collected unless needed for contact tracing or enforcement of this order.

12. Communication to Employees and Others of Known COVID-19 Exposure Required. All businesses and other entities must promptly communicate to their employees and state and local public health departments (email: [email protected]) if a known or probable COVID-19 exposure occurred in the workplace. Businesses and other entities must assist the state and local health departments in the process of informing customers or clients of a known COVID-19 exposure at the workplace.

13. Additional Requirements for Hotels and Other Lodging. Management at hotels and other places of lodging must regularly inform employees working within the lodging and state and local public health departments ([email protected]) whether and to what extent the hotel is housing individuals who are in quarantine or isolation due to travel, possible exposure to COVID-19, or a diagnosis of COVID-19. Hotel management must inform employees that the names of individuals with COVID 19 shall be kept confidential, and that a violation of confidentiality may result in disciplinary action by management. Hotels must supply personal protective equipment, sufficient sanitation opportunities, and adequate cleaning supplies to employees.

14. Remote Work. Employers must require employees to work from home when their work can be accomplished remotely without impeding business operations. Employers shall not knowingly permit symptomatic employees or others likely to be contagious with COVID-19 to enter the workplace or work outside the home.

15. Penalties. In addition to fines and other penalties currently provided by law, violations of this emergency order may result in mandatory suspension of activities or closure of individual businesses, non-profits, and other entities for a period of up to two weeks.

ISSUED this 4th day of March, 2021.

Austin Quinn-Davidson, Acting Mayor Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska

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