What Governor Dunleavy's Travel Mandate Means For Unalaska

Apr 1, 2020

Starting Wednesday, Unalaska Public Safety Personnel will meet all incoming passengers at Unalaska's Tom Madsen Airport to provide information about the State's mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Credit Berett Wilber/KUCB

Gov. Mike Dunleavy's most recent Covid-19 health mandate has very specific instructions for travel. 

All in-state travel is prohibited, unless "travel is to support critical infrastructure, or for critical personal needs." Critical infrastructure includes essential businesses. 

"Basically, essential businesses are businesses and activities that make sure society keeps running, that water keeps running, our lights stay on, as well as the government keeps running," explained Dunleavy during a press conference on Tuesday.

If an essential business does send someone to Unalaska from somewhere else within the state, that person must submit a plan to the state that explains why he or she should be exempt from travel restrictions, and what he or she will do to mitigate any spread of coronavirus to the community. That plan must be sent to akcovidplans@ak-prepared.com. 

Anyone arriving from outside the state must still quarantine for 14 days in their final destination.

Unalaska's biggest essential business is the fishing industry. Westward, Alyeska, and UniSea —three of the largest fish processing plants on the island— have chosen to enact quarantines for arriving workers. Officials with Icicle Seafoods—the fourth major processor in Unalaska—have not chosen to enact a quarantine, but, according to Chris Pugmire, General Manager of Western Alaska operations, "there have been no new crew arrivals to the Northern Victor since mid-March," and there are no plans to fly in new crew through "A" season. 

"The Northern Victor will be concluding its A season production operations within the next couple of weeks," said Pugmire. "We will do so with the existing crew that is currently on board, which is comprised of approximately 220 individuals."

Pugmire said the plant has the space and resources to quarantine, should the need arise. 

Other essential services include emergency first responders, case officers from Child Protective Services, and law enforcement. The State of Alaska is using the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of essential services. A full list can be found here

Additionally, all personal travel "is prohibited except as necessary to meet critical personal needs," according to the most recent health mandate. A list of what qualifies as critical personal needs can be found here, under Health Mandate 12. 

Violation of the health mandates can be prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. 

This story has been corrected. KUCB originally reported that all travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in any Alaskan community. In actuality, there is no mandatory quarantine for 14 days unless the traveler is coming from out-of-state.