October 19, 2020

Volume X, Number 293

October 16, 2020

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Alaska Issues Health Mandates to Help Address Spread of COVID-19

Alaska Governor, Mike Dunleavy, along with Commissioner Adam Crum and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink, have issued a number of health mandates restricting travel and social interaction to help address the state’s increasing concerns with slowing the spread of COVID-19 while attempting to preserve operations of “essential” work. These mandates follow earlier mandates to prevent social gatherings of 10 or more people and prohibit meetings and business sites where social distancing is not possible, in addition to the closure of personal care services, sit-down restaurants, and bars.

Mandate No. 10

On March 23, 2020, the state issued Health Mandate No. 10, which addressed travel into the State of Alaska. The mandate states that “all people arriving in Alaska, whether resident, worker, or visitor, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days” at the place designated by the traveler on the State of Alaska Travel Declaration Form. For a worker or visitor, the designated place would be his or her hotel room or rented lodging. For an Alaska resident, the designated quarantine place would be his or her regular place of residence. The person in quarantine may leave his or her “designated quarantine location only for medical emergencies or to seek medical care” and is directed “not to visit any public spaces, including, but not limited to: pools, meetings rooms, fitness centers or restaurants.”

The mandate provides that arriving residents and workers supporting critical infrastructure are not required to work from home. Critical infrastructure jobs include but are not limited to healthcare operations, financial services, airport operations, oil and gas industry, roads and highways, construction, first responders, grocery stores and other establishments that sell food and other household consumer products, carry-out restaurants, hardware stores, gas stations, and lawyers and accountants providing services to support legally-mandated activities.

Mandate No. 11

On March 27, 2020, the governor issued Health Mandate No. 11, which states that all persons in Alaska, “except for those engaged in essential healthcare services, public government services, and essential business activities, are mandated to remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing.”

“All businesses within Alaska, except those listed in Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the state except Minimum Basic Operations.” Minimum basic operations include “the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions;” and “the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.”

“A violation of a state COVID-19 Mandate may subject a business or organization to an order to cease operations and/or a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation.”

Mandate No. 12

Health Mandate No. 12, which Governor Dunleavy published on March 27, 2020, prohibits in-state travel whether the person is a visitor, a resident, or a worker, “unless travel is required to support critical infrastructure (defined in Health Mandate No. 10), or for critical personal needs.” “Critical personal needs include buying, selling or delivering groceries or home goods; obtaining fuel for vehicles or residential needs;” and transportation for essential health needs.

Certain small communities, such as those on the North Slope, are permitted to issue their own additional travel restrictions that are more restrictive under this mandate. An order of the North Slope borough of communities suspended all travel by air, land, or sea to those communities, with the exception of air traffic controllers, Department of Transportation staff, and cargo workers.

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 96

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Russell Buhite Health Care & Disability Attorney
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With 32 years of experience as a trial attorney, Russell Buhite is a nationally-recognized defense counsel representing life, health and disability insurance companies and benefit plans in litigation and rendering of client advice on both ERISA and non-ERISA matters pending in federal and state courts across the country.  He is a member of the life, health, and disability committee of Defense Research Institute (DRI) as well as a former national chair of the American Bar Association TIPS section’s Health and Disability Insurance Committee and of the Healthcare Reform Task Force.  He has...

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