Juneau’s indoor mask mandate is back amid latest COVID-19 surge

Packages of disposable face masks for sale at a grocery store.
Disposable face masks for sale at a Carrs–Safeway in Anchorage. Photographed Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Hannah Lies/Alaska Public Media)

People in Juneau must mask up in indoor public spaces again. Masks must also be worn in outdoor public spaces when it’s crowded. 

That change comes after Juneau emergency officials on Monday raised the city’s COVID-19 risk level to “modified high” amid an ongoing wave of new cases. 

State health officials reported 190 Juneau residents and visitors tested positive for the virus from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2. Those case rates continue the trend city officials reported last week — and they don’t include cases detected through home test kits

Deputy City Manager Robert Barr said city officials made the decision to raise the risk level after seeing those numbers. He said the main concern for now is the effect isolating and quarantining are having on staffing. 

“Our hope is to curb transmission enough such that businesses, government services, and the hospital remain sufficiently staffed for operations during this particular wave,” Barr wrote in an email.

Two people are currently at Bartlett Regional Hospital with active cases of COVID-19. 

Schools remain closed this week to students for winter break. 

Juneau officials last changed the city’s COVID-19 risk level on Dec .13. At that time, they nudged the city’s risk level down to moderate, which suspended most indoor mask requirements for people who are fully vaccinated.  

Statewide, health officials reported 2,872 new COVID-19 cases from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2.

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Jeremy Hsieh is the deputy managing editor of the KTOO newsroom in Juneau. He’s a podcast fiend who’s worked in journalism since high school as a reporter, editor and television producer. He ran Gavel Alaska for 360 North from 2011 to 2016, and is big on experimenting with novel tools and mediums (including the occasional animated gif) to tell stories and demystify the news. Jeremy’s an East Coast transplant who moved to Juneau in 2008.