ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Restaurants and bars in Anchorage will reopen Monday for dine-in service with multiple restrictions after city officials announced an updated emergency order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz made the announcement Friday, replacing an order considered to be a four-week reset for the city. It closed food establishments to indoor service and drew stark criticism from the industry.
That order was set to expire Sunday.
The updated regulation means businesses will be allowed to resume dine-in service at no more than 50% of each building’s capacity. Patrons will also be required to practice social distancing and are limited to table service only, meaning no standing, bar seating or bar ordering will be allowed.
Businesses must also maintain visitor logs for 30 days to assist with potential contract tracing procedures, officials said.
The updated restrictions also loosen gathering size requirements, nearly doubling the capacity allowed under the previous four-week reset. Indoor gatherings are now limited to 30 people, while outdoor gatherings with food and drink are limited to 50 people and without food or drink are limited to 100 people.
Gyms, theaters and other entertainment establishments, such as bingo halls, may also operate at 50% capacity.
The original four-week reset drew criticism from some who argued it was not enough time to see if it would successfully limit the spread of COVID-19.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.