Anchorage closes libraries, convention and cultural centers in response to coronavirus

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All municipal public facilities “where large crowds can gather” in Anchorage have been closed through March 31 due to concerns over the new coronavirus.

The closures were announced by Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz on Friday.

“Anchorage has great facilities where we gather with neighbors, friends, and visitors to enjoy culture, entertainment, and recreation,” Berkowitz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, now our top priority is to flatten the curve — to slow the spread of COVID-19 — so that our healthcare facilities will be able to treat every patient. It is a small sacrifice to close these libraries and civic, cultural, and recreational facilities. But when all of us act together, each of us can make Anchorage as safe as possible.”

The closures include all municipal libraries, the Anchorage Museum, the Egan and Dena’ina Convention Centers, Sullivan Arena, municipal recreation centers (Mountain View, Fairview, Spenard), the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Centennial Campground, the Kincaid Outdoor Center, the Lidia Selkregg Chalet, the Mann Leiser Memorial Greenhouse, all municipal pools, the Eagle River Town Center building and all municipal ice rinks through at least March 31.

[What Alaska events are canceled or postponed? Here’s a list.]

Berkowitz also said the municipality is recommending the postponement of all large gatherings and asking people to practice social distancing and refrain from handshakes, hugs or other close contact.

So far, one positive case of COVID-19 has been announced in Alaska, and there have been no known cases of community transmission.

Matt Tunseth

Matt Tunseth is a former reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and former editor of the Alaska Star.