The state of Alaska issued a “strong advisory” on Friday recommending that all nonessential personal, business and medical travel stop immediately.
This includes trips within and out of the state.
While the request is not a mandate, “greater than 80% of proven COVID-19 cases have come from out of state,” the health alert said. “It is imperative that Alaskans heed these guidelines.”
The governor and state public health officials are requesting the cancellation of all nonessential air travel. Alaskans who are currently out of state and planned to return within the next 30 days are asked to return home immediately.
All travelers who have been out of the state are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to Alaska.
For Alaskans traveling in-state who are leaving a community with known cases of COVID-19 — such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward and Ketchikan — they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days when they get to their destination and monitor for symptoms.
“Following that period, appropriate social distancing should be followed,” said the alert, which said there is “specific heightened concern for travel to remote areas with limited medical resources.” The measure comes as villages started to ban or restrict passenger air travel to slow the arrival of the new coronavirus to rural Alaska.
The alert recommends that visitors from out of state return home immediately.
All airlines, as well as road and water travel companies, are mandated to post the recommendations to their websites, and airports are required to prominently feature the advisory. Tour operators are asked to suspend all operations for the time being.
The request does not apply to emergency personal, business and medical travel.
“The sacrifice of all Alaskans during this public health emergency is notable,” stated a news release announcing the request. “While social distancing is one arm of slowing the spread of COVID-19, minimizing travel is an equally important part of slowing the spread of disease.”