Here is the latest Alaska news from The Associated Press at 11:40 a.m. AKDT

Here is the latest Alaska news from The Associated Press at 11:40 a.m. AKDT
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 1:43 AM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge has heard arguments over whether to block disbursement of federal coronavirus relief aid to small businesses under a reinterpretation of program rules by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration. Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg did not immediately rule after Thursday's hearing. The request is part of a lawsuit brought by Juneau resident Eric Forrer, who asked Pallenberg to hold the administration to the rules it proposed and lawmakers ratified. The state has sought to expand those rules as a way to provide additional aid to businesses. Attorneys for the state say Forrer lacks standing in the case.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The city of Valdez has mandated the use of face coverings in public to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The City Council passed the rule for all indoor areas outside the home where social distancing cannot be maintained, including public transportation, taxis and ride sharing services. The rule expected to go into effect Friday requires protective masks or cloth facial coverings, which include homemade masks, bandanas, scarfs, and handkerchiefs. There are exceptions for people with health concerns, children under 5 years old, children over 5 while at school, and people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks.

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — All residents of an Alaska city will be offered free coronavirus screening tests to help prevent the spread of the illness. The Daily Sitka Sentinel reported the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announced it will provide tests to everyone living in Sitka regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms. Free testing by self-swab nasal collection will be available Saturdays and Sundays at a drive-up testing center. The testing has been funded through a grant from the U.S. Indian Health Service. The consortium plans to offer additional testing in other Southeast Alaska communities beginning later this month.

HOMER, Alaska (AP) — Officials say one person died and two others were rescued after their boat capsized near Homer. Harbor officials say a 14-foot skiff carrying three people overturned near Gull Island in the mouth of a bay popular for salmon dipnetting. Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins says tide currents and winds can make traveling in the area dangerous. The Homer News reports that boats in the area responded to the scene. Lt. Ryan Browning of the Homer Police Department confirmed the one man who was taken to a hospital later died.