Alaska lawmakers call on governor to mandate face masks where social distancing is difficult
Alaska lawmakers have called on the governor to implement a mandate requiring face coverings in places where maintaining social distancing is difficult.
In a May 1 letter, several legislators co-signed a letter to the governor which reads, “As your administration lays out plans to reopen Alaska, we urge you to issue an additional COVID-19 Health Mandate requiring Alaskans to wear face coverings in public, including both essential and nonessential businesses.”
On Tuesday, Representative Zack Fields, a signee of the letter to the governor, reiterated this call.
“Other representatives and I sent a letter to the governor urging him to do a face covering mandate at the same time that he was reopening the economy,” said Representative Zack Fields (D – Anchorage) during an interview, “Because we anticipated that with economic reopening and without sufficient public health safeguards, cases would spike.”
“Cases have been spiking,” continues Fields, “And our goal, of course, is to reopen the economy safely. And face coverings are one cost-free way that we can reduce viral transmission and protect jobs so why would we not do that?”
Fields notes that there is a misconception that because the economy is reopening, COVID-19 has gone away. “Actually, the reverse is true. Because the economy is reopened, we have to be extra vigilant to stomp out the virus.”
Fields says that it is a false dichotomy that
the economy can reopen,
Alaskans can protect themselves against COVID-19. He has also authored an
According to Fields, the governor has not responded to the letter.
Original signees include Representatives Tiffany Zulkosky, Matt Claman, Harriet Drummond, Zack Fields, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Andi Story, and Geran Tarr.