Alaska News

Masks no longer required in Alaska Capitol

Under a new COVID-19 mitigation policy approved by a legislative committee on Wednesday, masks and testing are no longer required in the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau.

The new policy, adopted unanimously by the Legislative Council, is a departure from the one approved at the start of the session. The council, which includes members of the state House and Senate, controls operations of the Capitol complex.

Under the new policy, face masks are optional in all legislative offices, but individual legislators and legislative information offices may require masks in their offices.

The Legislative Council Chair, Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, or someone she designates, can make decisions on other individual masking requests. For example, individuals with compromised immune systems can request that masks be worn when they are present.

The new policy also lifts a requirement for legislators, staff, interns, and credentialed media to participate in regular COVID-19 testing during the ongoing legislative session, after Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, proposed an amendment to make testing optional.

Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, said that change is simply getting in line with what is already happening in the Capitol. The testing requirement has not been enforced since the beginning of the session.

“Some of us get tested. Some of us don’t,” Stedman said.


The council has required masks in the Capitol complex since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, except for a brief interlude between May and October of last year when they were made optional.

The policy change was proposed by lawmakers as other states across the country remove mask requirements and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hints at a possible change to recommendations on mask use amid waning COVID-19 cases nationwide.

Reinbold expressed gratitude for the policy change on the Senate floor on Wednesday. Reinbold has been a regular critic of COVID-19 masking and vaccination requirements and was banned by Alaska Airlines over her refusal to follow the airline’s mask-wearing policy.

“I am absolutely thankful and thrilled that masks are now optional in the Capitol, as well as testing, so good job everybody. It’s just so lovely to see everybody’s faces,” Reinbold said.

Reporter James Brooks contributed from Juneau.

Iris Samuels

Iris Samuels is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News focusing on state politics. She previously covered Montana for The AP and Report for America and wrote for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at