JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State officials Wednesday extended indefinitely prohibitions on dine-in services at restaurants and bars and closure of facilities such as gyms and theaters as they seek to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska.
As of Wednesday, there had been a total of 143 reported cases of the coronavirus in the state, which includes 10 new cases announced at a late-day news conference. About 5,000 people have been tested so far, according to the state health department.
The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
State health Commissioner Adam Crum said the extended restrictions announced Wednesday would remain in effect until rescinded. They initially were set to expire Wednesday. A closure of state-run libraries, archives and museums to public visitation was similarly extended.
Meanwhile, the state filed a legal complaint against an Anchorage man it accuses of buying respirators and selling them at “unconscionable prices” online in an effort to profit off coronavirus concerns.
The complaint against Juan Lyle Aune alleges violations of a law barring unfair trade and commerce practices, and seeks financial penalties. Court records did not list an attorney for Aune, and a phone listing tried by The Associated Press didn’t work.
The complaint alleges Aune generally bought 20-packs of respirators for between $17-$23 from local stores. Between Feb. 10 and March 16, he sold packs on Amazon at an average price of $89.25, the complaint states. It also alleges he made other sales on eBay.
Reselling respirators for “unconscionable prices during a time of increased necessity and high demand … offends public policy,” violates fairness concepts and and is unethical, the complaint states.
Attorney General Kevin Clarkson referred to the case as price gouging, which Assistant Attorney General John Haley said involves taking advantage of an emergency.