Second part of state's plan to reopen Alaska starts Friday

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Covid -alaska

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink speaks remotely during the press conference of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

The state of Alaska is moving to phase two.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the state’s next steps toward reopening Alaska during a press conference Wednesday evening in Anchorage.

“I think we all realize that we have to make sure we don’t lose our economy,” Dunleavy said.

The plan to reopen the state’s economy is part of a multi-phase strategy designed by state officials. The latest involves additional steps to relax state mandates instituted earlier this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dunleavy said phase two starts Friday. This includes pushing the capacity for businesses such as retail, restaurants and personal care services to 50 percent; opening fitness centers, bars, libraries and theatres to 25 percent capacity; and swimming pools to 50 percent capacity. Restaurants will also not be restricted to reservations only, with the phase two guidelines, and both bars and restaurants can accept walk-in customers.

Phase two also allows social and religious gatherings up to 50 people.

“Our numbers compel us in a way to open up responsibly,” Dunleavy said, referring to the latest COVID-19 statistics reported by state officials.

There have been a total of 372 positive COVID-19 cases in Alaska, and 284 of those are considered recovered. There have been a total of 23,655 total COVID-19 tests in the state.

“We’re looking at our numbers, looking at our metrics. It’s very important we keep an eye on that,” Dunleavy said. “We’re going to continue to watch those numbers because health is No. 1.”

The state implemented phase one of the plan on April 24. The third phase includes pushing allowed capacity of businesses to 75 percent and allowing social gatherings larger than 50 people.

“If our numbers hold we’ll begin discussion next week with our health teams,” Dunleavy said of the next step. “If our numbers hold, we’ll be moving quickly toward our next step.”

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