To slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the economy, Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson announced modifications to two emergency orders. Emergency Order EO-13v3 strengthens the mask order; EO-14v3 reduces gathering sizes and sets stronger guidelines for organized sports and indoor shopping events.
In response to growing case counts and decreasing health care capacity, these emergency order updates focus on public health actions that residents must take to reduce COVID-19 transmission and to reduce the need for a broader community shutdown. The orders go into effect on Monday, November 9, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.
“For the sake of our health and our economy, we need to come together to change the trajectory of COVID-19 in our community,” said Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson. “Our goals are to protect public health and to help our local businesses survive this pandemic. We all must step up by wearing masks and minimizing gatherings - now.”
Emergency Order EO-13v3 removes most exceptions to the face covering requirement, which will make it easier for businesses and the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) to enforce. The order requires individuals who cannot tolerate wearing a face covering due to disability to wear a face shield instead, unless it is impossible to do so, or to seek alternate accommodations such as curbside pick-up, take-out, or delivery. The order also extends the mask requirement to all school-age children over five years old, and to individuals exercising at indoor facilities.
Emergency Order EO-14v3 restricts the size of indoor gatherings with food and drink to 10 people, indoor gatherings without food and drink to 15 people, outdoor gatherings with food and drink to 20 people, and outdoor gatherings without food and drink to 30 people. The order places capacity limits on classrooms, and sets guidelines for team sports, including a requirement that players wear face coverings while practicing and competing indoors. The order also sets guidelines for indoor shopping events, such as holiday bazaars.
The announcement follows a Public Health Advisory issued by the Anchorage Health Department (AHD) last week that advised the public to take additional precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Since AHD issued its advisory, the fourteen-day average case rate has increased from 40 cases per 100,000 people per day to almost 60 cases per 100,000 per day. The State of Alaska defines anything over 10 cases per 100,000 people per day as high risk.
The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases is overwhelming local public health capacity, threatens hospitals’ ability to staff critical care beds, endangers lives and health of Anchorage residents, and further hampers our ability to restore the local economy. Our collective individual actions can make a difference. Together, we can significantly reduce transmission, protect our community’s heath, and protect our local economy.