Juneau Assembly weighs pros and cons of local quarantine

Masked travelers head into the terminal of Juneau International Airport on May 15, 2020. Alaska Airlines requires passengers wear masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and CDC recommendations. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

The Juneau Assembly plans to decide on Wednesday whether to require a quarantine for travelers entering the borough from out-of-state. 

During a special meeting Monday night, the assembly heard testimony from members of the public about an emergency ordinance requiring visitors, workers and Juneau residents to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to monitor for COVID-19. 

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Many local residents who called in expressed support for the ordinance. 

But, Mike Lobeki, who runs a fishing lodge in Elfin Cove, is worried that a local quarantine would prevent guests to his lodge from being able to fly through Juneau. Many of the reservations for his lodge have already been canceled due to the pandemic and related travel restrictions.

“We’re going broke,” Lobeki said. “We’re just wondering if there’s anybody taking into consideration what you guys can do to help us.”

The draft ordinance currently requires businesses that host tourists at lodges to submit mitigation plans to the city. 

The Assembly is hoping for more details from the state about Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plan to lift the statewide travel quarantine on Friday and instead require travelers take a COVID-19 test within 72-hours of flying to Alaska. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and Health Commissioner Adam Crum are scheduled to speak at Wednesday’s meeting.

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