Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson has issued a stringent new emergency order that will shut down or severely limit scores of Anchorage businesses in the lead up to Christmas.
An emotional Quinn-Davison read a prepared statement, her voice cracking several times as she announced that she has “done everything she could” to bring Anchorage’s COVID cases down. She blamed the lack of “behavior change” for her need to impose some of the most stringent mandates the city has seen over the past year.
At city of 290,000 residents, Anchorage has 82 COVID positive patients in the hospital. Not all of these patients are hospitalized because of COVID symptoms but they have tested positive. In terms hospital availability there are still 584 inpatient beds, 92 ICU beds and 295 ventilators.
The new order, which begins Dec. 1, limits indoor gatherings to six people and outdoor gathering to 10. There are some exceptions for religious and political gatherings. The law even applies to personal households.
Bars, restaurants and cafes will be shut down for in-person dining for all of December. Gyms, bingo halls, theaters and many other businesses will be completely shuttered.
“The order will affect every individual and business in the municipality,” Quinn-Davidson said. “I know this is incredibly difficult news.”
She said her actions were personally “hard but necessary.”
Many area businesses have just barely clung on during the litany of 16 emergency mandates that former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and now Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson have imposed on residents. In addressing the economic impact, Quinn-Davidson said she is calling on Congress to pour millions of additional federal stimulus funds into the state. She plans to meet with Alaska’s Washington, D. C. delegation.
To enforce her mandates, Quinn-Davidson said the city is hiring three new code enforcement officers. She said Anchorage police would also be available to issue fines and remove unmasked people from businesses.
The new order has more onerous consequences for business that fail to comply follow. With past mandates the city only issued temporary stop-work orders. It can now shut businesses down for up to two weeks as punishment.
“In addition to fines and other penalties currently provided by law, violations of this emergency order may result in mandatory suspension of... (Read more)
Submitted 60 days ago