FAIRBANKS – Alaska is just one of twelve states in the country lacking a requirement that citizens help fight the COVID-19 pandemic by wearing a face mask indoors in public places where social distancing is impossible.
Vaccines, pioneered and produced in record time, promise hope of an end to the pandemic. The limited availability of doses however means the development does not change our immediate circumstances. Nor does it diminish the need for strong public actions and a commitment by Alaskans to do their part to protect their family, friends, and neighbors.
A group of state representatives led by Representative Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks) sent a letter urging Gov. Mike Dunleavy to follow the advice of public health officials in his own administration, across the state, and around the country and implement a statewide mandate.
“Every day we see that case counts of COVID are increasing across the state. Mortalities from COVID on the national level are setting records, and hospital capacity is starting to be maxed out,” the lawmakers wrote. “More than half the state’s population is under a mask mandate due to the responsible action of municipal leaders. However, much of the state does not have this capability. In Fairbanks, our borough does not have health powers and our city mayor refuses to enact a mandate.”
Joining Representative Wool in signing the letter were Representatives Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), Sara Hannan (D-Juneau), Grier Hopkins (D-Fairbanks), Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka), Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel), and Representative-elect Liz Snyder (D-Anchorage).