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Anchorage

How will Anchorage’s ‘hunker down’ coronavirus order work? Here’s the city’s FAQ.

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: March 27
  • Published March 22

A pedestrian crosses an empty parking lot in downtown Anchorage as people stayed away during the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, March 22, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

The city of Anchorage is under a “hunker down” order to limit to spread of the new coronavirus. The order, issued by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, urges that people stay home if they can and asks that many businesses close or limit their businesses.

Groceries, pharmacies and other essential businesses will remain open.

The city posted a set of frequently asked questions, which we’re republishing here as a public service.

• • •

MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE EMERGENCY HUNKER DOWN ORDER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is the Municipality issuing an emergency order to hunker down?

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a public health emergency that threatens to overwhelm our health system, endangering the lives and well-being of the people of Anchorage. We can take steps to slow and hopefully contain the threat, but those steps require immediate and coordinated community action.

How long is the order in effect?

The original order was in effect from Sunday, March 22 at 10 p.m. to Tuesday, March 31 at 11:59 p.m., but has now been extended to April 14.

Can I go outside for a walk, ski, or bike ride or to walk my dog?

Yes. Practice social distancing of six feet or more with anyone outside your household, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before and after, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

Where does this apply?

This applies to the entire Municipality of Anchorage including Anchorage, Eagle River, Chugiak and Girdwood.

How is this enforced?

Businesses violating the order will be subject to civil penalties.

What businesses will remain open?

• Healthcare operations and first responders

• Businesses providing critical infrastructure including Port of Alaska, public works and housing construction, airport operations, roads and highways, and trucking and shipping

• Critical city government services including police stations, fire stations, hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, garbage, utilities, People Mover

• Gas stations and auto-repair and supply stores

• Pharmacies

• Grocery stores, convenience stores, food banks, take-out and delivery restaurants

• Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians, and those who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences

• Childcare facilities and home-based care for seniors, adults and children

• Hotels, residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults and children

• Banks and related financial institutions

• Laundromats and laundry services

For a complete list of businesses that may remain open please see Emergency Order EO-03.

What if I think my business should be considered a critical business, but it’s not on the list?

Write covid-19-business@anchorageak.gov and request a designation from the Mayor’s office.

What are some examples of businesses that will temporarily close?

• Hair salons and barber shops

• Nail salons

• Shoe stores

• Clothing stores

• Makeup stores

• Jewelry stores

• Car dealerships (service and parts may remain open)

• Tattoo parlors

• Art studios

• Sporting goods stores

• Gaming stores

Downtown Anchorage was quiet as people stayed away on Sunday, March 22, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

What businesses already closed as a result of EO-01?

• Gyms

• Movie theaters

• Indoor recreation centers

• Bowling alleys

• Nightclubs

What about physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy?

These businesses may continue with urgent, health-care equivalent appointments only. All other appointments must be canceled or postponed.

What shouldn’t I do?

• Don’t physically congregate in group activities with others.

• Don’t invite friends or family over to your home to visit.

• Don’t eat or drink in bars, breweries, or restaurants.

• Don’t go to a nail salon or have your hair cut at a salon or barber shop.

• Don’t invite personal trainers into your home.

Can I leave home to buy pet food or take my pet to the vet?

Yes.

Can I exercise?

Yes. You can engage in many activities outdoors. Permissible activities include:

• Running alone, with household members, or with others at a distance

• Riding your bike alone, with household members, or with others at a distance

• Walking or hiking alone, with household members, or with others at a distance

• Stretching

• Swimming in your own pool/hot tub

What if I live/work in a different city that is not under stay-at-home?

Travel to and from the Municipality of Anchorage is allowed for purposes of performing essential life functions. If you work outside of the Municipality in an area that is not under this order please practice social distancing of six feet or more, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible, use hand sanitizer and not shake hands while at work. Comply with this order while in Anchorage.

Can I use taxis, ride share and People Mover?

Yes, but only for essential travel. Practice social distancing of six feet or more, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before and after rides, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

Can I leave home to care for my elderly or disabled parents or friends who require

assistance to care for themselves?

Yes. Be sure to protect them and yourself and practice social distancing of six feet or more when possible, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before and after rides, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other

residential care facility?

It is strongly recommended that you do not go to a hospital unless you or a dependent is seeking emergency medical attention. Please use alternative ways to communicate with loved ones at residential care facilities such as calling, texting, and video calling. Residents at these locations are the most vulnerable. Contact the facility you would like to visit for further information.

Can I leave home to visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need?

No. We need to minimize contact with others in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

I am homeless. How can I comply with the order?

Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this section, but are strongly urged to obtain shelter, and entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable (and to use COVID-19 risk mitigation practices in their operation).

I don’t have a washer/dryer in my home. Can I leave to do laundry?

Yes. You can go to a laundromat or other laundry service provider.

What happens if I have an appointment with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration

Services?

The USCIS offices are temporarily closed to the public. The Anchorage office is closed and all interviews are canceled until April 1st. If you are working with an attorney, please contact them to find out more information.

Do I have to report to jury duty?

The courts are under the jurisdiction of the State of Alaska. Please call the number on your jury service form for further instructions. If you must go practice social distancing of six feet or more when possible, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

Can my family go camping during the order?

Yes. If you go practice social distancing of six feet or more when possible, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands. Be sure to bring medical supplies and return home and seek medical care if you feel sick.

Can I fish or hunt?

Yes. Maintain social distance of at least six feet, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

What should I do if my employer requires me to go to work?

Many private businesses are not permitted to continue operating under this order. Critical businesses as defined in this order are allowed and encouraged to continue operating. If your employer is not a critical business you should not be asked to go to work. You will not be penalized for reporting to work.

Does the order prevent people over the age of 65 from working?

No, employees over the age of 65 are not prohibited from working if they are performing essential activities. However, people in high-risk categories for COVID-19 are encouraged to stay in their residence to the extent possible.

I operate a store that sells food, alcohol, etc. Can I stay open?

Yes.

I operate a food bank. Can I still operate?

Yes.

I own a store. Can I go to my store to pick up my mail?

Yes, if this is essential to allow you to continue to work from home.

My business sells a few items that can be used by people working from home. Can I still

operate?

A business that only tangentially offers products and/or services that support essential activities or businesses cannot continue to operate.

I operate a web-based diagnostic company for coronary artery disease for hospitals. Can

I stay open?

Yes. Healthcare operations are considered essential.

Are Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism services allowed to stay open?

Yes. Healthcare operations are considered essential.

Can financial operations that cannot be done remotely continue at the office?

Yes. Banks, mortgage companies, insurance companies, and related financial institutions can still operate while this order is in effect.

Can plumbing, electrical, and HVAC services remain open?

Yes. They may remain open to provide services.

Can rental car agencies and car dealerships operate?

Rental car agencies and dealerships can operate to support essential businesses.

Can nurseries and flower shops remain open?

No.

Is a dog grooming business allowed to stay open?

No.

Can a housekeeper keep working and am I allowed to hire one?

No. However, if a housekeeper is required for the continued health and safety of the residence they may continue working.

Can cleaning services continue working?

Yes. They may be hired by essential businesses only.

I own a business. What should I do?

If you do not own an essential business you must close your premises; you may work remotely.

I am a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. Can I continue working?

Yes.

Are cannabis stores allowed to continue operations?

Yes. Stores that only sell paraphernalia may not continue.

A building is under construction. Can construction continue?

Yes. Any construction relating to housing, health care or essential businesses may continue.

Can construction of a sewer or water line continue?

Yes, this is critical infrastructure. Practice social distancing of at least six feet from any person outside their household whenever possible, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

Can babysitters and nannies keep working? Am I allowed to hire one?

Yes, in-home childcare is allowed to continue.

What about childcare?

Childcare facilities, subject to new recommendations for increased hygiene and social distancing can continue operating. Childcare facilities should be used only by those who need childcare to work at a critical job.

I work or run a mail delivery service. Can I stay open?

Yes. Practice social distancing of at least six feet from any person whenever possible, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

Can food delivery continue?

Yes. Here is some additional guidance to food delivery and take-out operations.

• All workers must practice social distancing of at least six feet from any person whenever possible, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water between each delivery, use hand sanitizer and do not shake hands.

• Containers and surfaces used in delivery need to be wiped down with disinfectant between each delivery

• Delivery must be conducted without person-to-person contact. Maintain distance of six feet or more.

• All prepared food items should be delivered in sealed and stapled bags or similar containers. Drinks should be delivered in unopened bottles or cartons or cups with secure lids.

• Products should be placed in a sanitized bin in the delivery vehicle

• Payment for delivery should be done virtually to the greatest extent possible. If the use of cash is unavoidable, the exchange of cash should be done while maintaining social distance of six feet between individuals.

Will the grocery stores stay open and stocked?

• Yes, the Port of Alaska is operating a regular shipping schedule. Grocery stores will be regularly stocked. There is no need to buy more than you need, and doing so might temporarily deprive your neighbor and force them to make additional trips outside the home.

• Some grocery stores now have seniors-only hours: Carrs: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Costco: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

What should I do if I can’t or don’t want to leave my house to get groceries?

• Please contact family, friends and others who you know can provide support. They are permitted to pick things up for you.

• Some grocery stores have programs to shop for you. You can pick your grocery orders up at the curb or have it delivered to your home. Other services such as Instacart will shop for you and deliver groceries to your home.

• You can also find volunteers through the Mutual Aid Network to do your shopping for you.

What should I do if I’m sick and need to go to the hospital or a medical provider?

Call ahead to your medical provider to determine if you should seek in-person medical attention. If possible walk or drive yourself to the health care to avoid exposing others.

What if I am scheduled for a regular medical check-up or if I need non-emergency

medical services?

Contact your medical provider to find out if they are still providing regular services. Some services, especially elective procedures may be canceled or postponed. If you are feeling sick please call your doctor, a nurse hotline, urgent care center or 2-1-1 for medical advice.

Do not go to the emergency room unless you are having an actual medical emergency.

Can I pick up my prescriptions?

Yes. You may also be able to get them delivered to you.

I receive mental health treatment. Can I still go to my appointments?

Yes, if your provider decides to continue to offer in-person appointments, you may leave home to take care of your mental health. Do practice social distancing of six feet or more, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible, use hand sanitizer and not shake hands. Some mental health professionals are offering sessions through telemedicine to keep everyone safer, which may be another option.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Please email covid-19@anchorageak.gov or leave a voicemail at (907) 343-4019.

If you are sick or have personal health concerns please contact your doctor. If you do not have a regular doctor please call 2-1-1.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Costco’s senior shopping hours were Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. The correct times are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

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