ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The governing body of Alaska’s largest city has passed an emergency ordinance instituting a mask mandate.
The Anchorage Assembly passed the motion ordinance late Tuesday, and it replaces an earlier proposal that has dragged on for weeks amid heated testimony during a prolonged public hearing, the Anchorage Daily News reported. It went into effect immediately.
The new ordinance was brought to the meeting during a regularly scheduled meeting and passed on a 9-1 vote. At least nine votes are needed to pass an emergency ordinance, and a public hearing is not required.
The ordinance requires all people to wear masks or face coverings in indoor public areas. It is in effect for 60 days or until certain standards are met that indicates the current spike in cases was subsiding.
Exemptions to the mask mandate include children under the age of 5, people who can’t wear mask because of mental of physical disabilities, and for churches and those participating in athletic activities. Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, who opposed mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions, and his executive team are exempt.
“This is not about getting the mayor to wear a mask. This is about our community’s health,” said Meg Zaletel, one of the assembly members who brought the ordinance to the body.
Bronson immediately vowed to veto the ordinance on social media. The Assembly can override a veto with eight votes.