ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Travelers coming to Alaska must be tested for COVID-19 before boarding a plane to the state or submit to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Friday.
Out-of-state travelers will soon need to show proof of testing within 72 hours of boarding and fill out paperwork. If either test results or paperwork is lost, travelers will be subjected to another test at the airport or quarantine for two weeks.
Dunleavy also extended the 14-day quarantine until June 5. It was set to expire June 2. The new testing requirements are intended to replace the quarantine policy, which was first implemented in March.
Further policy changes are expected to be clarified Monday.
“We do believe that this will open up Alaska more to travel coming to Alaska, which is going to help folks come see Alaska, help our local businesses get some of the business back that we’ve lost, but also test people because that’s been one of the big things we’ve all talked nationwide,” Dunleavy said.
Some smaller communities with limited health care infrastructure could still restrict incoming nonessential travel, he said. State officials are scheduled to discuss overland travel from Canada or ferry travel protocols next week.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz's administration has said it wants to fully analyze the new travel regulations before commenting on it, spokeswoman Carolyn Hall said.
“I am not planning on anything right now,” Berkowitz said. “We are going to wait and see what the state is going to do.”
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 vast majority of people recover.