Bipartisan group of Alaska legislators urges governor to issue statewide shelter in place order

Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 2:59 PM AKDT
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A bipartisan group of legislators sent a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy urging his administration to issue a statewide shelter in place mandate. The unprecedented action is needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

Cities, boroughs, and villages across Alaska have already issued shelter in place orders to reduce the burden on our healthcare system and avoid preventable loss of life.

However, as the letter signed by members of the House Majority and House Minority caucuses points out, many municipalities lack legal authority to issue sweeping mandates. State action is required for meaningful enforcement.

“COVID-19 presents Alaska with an unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented response,” said Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks), who spearheaded the effort to send the letter. “Mandating a statewide shelter in place is going to present complications, but it needs to happen to prevent the spread of this deadly disease and keep Alaskans safe.”

“Research is clear, waiting for ‘medical data’ to justify a statewide mandate to shelter in place puts communities large and small in incredible danger, as we could be past the point of no return,” Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel) said. “Especially at risk are villages and rural hubs that lack emergent medical capacity that exists in our larger cities. A shelter in place mandate gives elders and vulnerable Alaskans the best possible chance to stay safe and healthy.”

To read the full letter

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