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People coming to Alaska by land or sea are still subject to COVID-19 traveler policy, state says

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People traveling to Alaska by boat or car still must comply with a health mandate aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, state officials said Saturday.

Two weeks earlier, the state implemented a new testing-based policy that allows travelers from out of state to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival if they test negative for COVID-19 before or after they arrive in Alaska.

Under one option laid out in the health mandate, travelers can avoid the quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 up to 72 hours before their departure for Alaska. They must minimize interactions with others for two weeks after their arrival; until they test negative in a follow-up test taken seven to 14 days after arriving in Alaska; or until they leave the state, whichever comes first.

If travelers choose to test upon arrival, they must quarantine until their test comes back negative, then follow the same protocols for minimizing interactions for their first two weeks in Alaska.

If travelers choose not to test before or immediately after arrival in the state, they have to quarantine for two weeks.

All incoming travelers must also submit a travel declaration form noting which option they’re choosing, in addition to presenting their negative test results if applicable.

Some testing is available at 10 airports statewide. But drivers coming into Alaska may not see testing sites at land border crossings the way they might at airports, the state’s COVID-19 unified command said in a statement Saturday.

If travelers driving into the state opt for pre-travel testing, they are still required to show their negative test results and travel declaration form at the border.

At the Beaver Creek, Haines and Skagway border crossings, the federal U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is distributing the declaration forms and COVID-19 test vouchers for follow-up testing. Travel through Canada is allowed only for essential purposes, which does not include tourism or recreation, until at least July 21.

If someone is traveling by water, the process they must follow may vary slightly based on the community where they arrive.

“While some communities are considering mobile screening and collection capabilities, others are working directly with their harbormasters to implement screening processes and inform incoming private vessels of travel mandates and locations of nearest testing sites,” state officials said.

Maritime travelers must check on community-specific procedures with harbormasters before arriving. State officials said they are working with the Alaska Marine Highway System to coordinate education of travelers and compliance with the health mandate.

All travelers can submit their declaration forms and COVID-19 test results in advance to traveler@alaska.gov, though state officials said travelers should keep a copy with them to present at screening sites at various points of entry.

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