JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration announced plans to begin allowing this week the limited reopening of restaurants, retail stores and other businesses that were shut down amid coronavirus concerns.
Starting Friday, restaurants, retail outlets, hair and nail salons and businesses that fell under the category of nonessential will be allowed to reopen, with limited services. Bars, theaters, bowling alleys and bingo halls will not be allowed to reopen yet, the state’s health commissioner, Adam Crum, said Tuesday.
Under the plan, restaurants, which have been allowed to do take-out and deliveries, will be able to resume dine-in service. But restaurants will be limited to 25% capacity inside, with 10 feet between tables and only household members allowed at a table, Crum said. Limits also will be placed on outdoor seating. Crum said the state will continue to encourage takeout options.
According to a presentation by Crum, there also will be capacity limits at retail stores and businesses such as hair and nail salons and tattoo shops. Personal care services, for example, will be appointment only with no waiting areas, Crum said.
Gyms will be allowed to do outdoor training with groups of less than 20. Crum said there will be screening of staff and participants to make sure no one is sick and spacing of 10 feet between people.
Plans outlined Tuesday also include use of face coverings and hand-washing and sanitation criteria. Further details were expected Wednesday, Crum said.
State officials said a mandate calling for people arriving in Alaska to self-quarantine for 14 days is being extended to May 19. A mandate seeking to limit travel within the state was extended until further notice, according to the administration.
Alaska has reported 329 cases of COVID-19, which includes 168 recovered cases, and nine deaths. Dunleavy said the state continues to ramp up its testing and that a large shipment of personal protective gear is expected soon, which he said will help as the state begins reopening.
The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death
“For those that have been chomping at the bit to get things open and moving, we’re heading there,” Dunleavy said. “For those that are still very concerned, and rightfully so, we can assure you that we are going to continue to use the best practices” and use data in decision-making.