ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska will no longer require travelers to have a negative COVID-19 test when arriving in the state, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Sunday when outlining plans for the state to transition into a recovery phase.
The announcement came after the state’s emergency declaration expired Sunday.
Dunleavy ordered his commissioners and state employees to continue following the policies that were in place under the declaration. However, officials will spend the next several weeks reviewing which policies are still needed.
“My administration will begin moving Alaska, its economy and our lives forward through this transition and recovery process,” Dunleavy said in a statement. “Make no mistake about it, the virus may be with us for some time. But the data shows that the worst is most likely behind us.”
Alaska has had 54,282 total resident cases of the virus, and 280 Alaskans have died. The state, which has a population of about 728,000, has given 175,135 vaccine doses.
“No matter what metrics you look at, Alaska is doing pretty good, probably better than most states,” Dunleavy said at a news conference. “And so this gives us the confidence that as we move forward, we’re going to continue to manage this virus as well or better than most other locales.”
The state issued several new health advisories Sunday, including removing the need for a negative test for travelers. However, Dunleavy said travelers can still get tests when they arrive at airports in the state if they wish for the next few months. These tests will not be free of charge, the Republican governor said. Previously, non-Alaska residents were charged $250 for the tests.
Another advisory continues to encourage Alaskans to wear masks and social distance. Alaska has never had a statewide mask mandate.
Dunleavy’s orders do not affect what rules put in place by municipalities, such as Anchorage. The state’s largest city has a mask mandate in place.