A Seward marine tour operator shut down temporarily this week after two employees tested positive for COVID-19 amid a coronavirus outbreak in this small city on Resurrection Bay.
Kenai Fjords Tours, one of several companies offering wildlife and glacier cruises on the waterfront, has “paused operations over the next few weeks” given the escalating COVID-19 situation in Seward, according to a company statement Wednesday.
Word of the tour company cases come as local officials weigh emergency restrictions ahead of the holiday weekend.
The Seward city council on Wednesday evening was considering at least a partial closure of city-owned campgrounds; a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people; required face coverings inside public buildings; and limiting capacity within restaurants, charters, bars and retailers.
More than a dozen downtown businesses voluntarily closed their doors this week with plans to keep them shut through the holiday weekend.
At Kenai Fjords, many employees within the community are self-isolating, according to an email from company spokeswoman Tanya Otis. The two infected workers are in quarantine.
The company expects to reopen July 10.
Until the outbreak, Seward had largely escaped the virus. Three residents tested positive between March and early June.
Public health officials say they’ve confirmed about 30 new cases in Seward since early last week. The city announced another seven new cases on Wednesday.
The first Seward cases associated with the outbreak surfaced last week. Officials recommended tests for anyone who’d frequented two local establishments, the Seward Alehouse and Yukon Bar, on June 21 and June 22.
Local authorities this week canceled all holiday events.
Otis said Kenai Fjords Tours is recommending anyone who took a cruise in the past week contact local health care providers and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
Operations at Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge will also be paused until July 8.
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