Mask and COVID-19 test requirements are dropped for Alaska State Capitol

A woman in a mask standing on a landing, seen looking down through the stairwell from the landing below
A masked woman waits in the stairwell of the Capitol in January 2021. On Wednesday, the Legislative Council voted to make masks and COVID-19 optional for lawmakers and others who work in the building. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Legislators and others who work in the Alaska State Capitol are no longer required to wear masks and be tested for COVID-19. The Alaska Legislative Council voted to eliminate the mandates on Wednesday. 

The council required masks throughout the regular session last year but made masks optional during the four special sessions. It reinstated the mandate at the start of the session this year.

The Capitol was closed to the public from March 13, 2020 until June 16, 2021. But it has remained open since then. 

Cases in Juneau and throughout Alaska have fallen steeply since the session started. 

The rules will continue to require those who test positive for the virus to isolate. Individual legislators may continue to require masks in their offices.

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Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.