The Anchorage mask mandate, now an emergency order by the acting mayor, will be considered by the Anchorage Assembly as an official law — beyond just an emergency order.
The proposed ordinance and three others will be introduced at Tuesday night’s Anchorage Assembly meeting.
In addition to making masks mandatory by ordinance, the Assembly is being asked to consider revoking its plastic bag ban, and putting curbside pickup for alcohol and marijuana into ordinance.
In 2019, the Assembly made single-use plastic bags illegal in retail stores. Now, they would be legal again, per the ordinance change.
The face mask ordinance could relieve the political pressure on Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, but also make it more of an issue in the upcoming mayoral race.
One of the leading candidates for mayor, Democrat Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, is on record supporting the mask mandate, while at least one other, Republican candidate Dave Bronson, not currently holding elected office, is in favor of personal choice and responsibility. Surely the proposed ordinances will become a debate point between the candidates.
If a candidate is elected as mayor who does not support the mask mandate, his or her hands will be tied by the ordinance, as the only way the mandate could then be lifted would by via a change voted on by the Assembly.
Assembly members John Weddleton, Meg Zaletel and Suzanne LaFrance are introducing the ordinances, which won’t be voted on during Tuesday’s meeting. Ordinances require public comment periods, which require legal notices.