Berkowitz allows sit-down restaurants to open, just in time for first fall storm



Anchorage restaurants opened for 50 percent capacity sit-down dining on Monday, and not a moment too late — a massive storm from the Gulf of Alaska whipped through the region on Sunday night and into Monday, tearing some of the restaurants’ outdoor temporary tents to pieces, such as the IHOP restaurant tents shown above on Monday morning.

The weather conditions for outdoor dining deteriorated Monday, as wind was at 11 knots and over 1/2 an inch of rain fell. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’ newest order strongly suggests restaurants continue serving people outdoors, but a quick survey of Anchorage establishments showed no one eating outdoors. “Outdoor service should be prioritized,” the mayor’s order says.

Gatherings indoors are, via the mayor’s edict, limited to 30 people in a single enclosure. All outdoor gatherings involving consumption of food or beverages are limited to 50 or fewer. If there is no food or beverages involved, the limit is 100.

No one may stand at a bar, and music and dancing are prohibited. Masks must be worn except when eating or drinking.

Day cafes, camps, and schools are exempt from the gathering limitation, but churches must limit their capacity to 50 percent and people must wear masks and stay six feet apart. The mayor also said places for political expression are also open to the public, with certain conditions. Some churches have chosen to ignore the mayor’s orders, which are seen as an infringement upon their First Amendment right to gather to worship.

Fine dining at South Restaurant during the Emergency Order 15 mandate to have no indoor dining in Anchorage.

Outdoors for Berkowitz’ restaurant on the south end of Anchorage meant a massive party tent with stout walls, which withstood the gale-force winds overnight. Anchorage residents wondered if his “South” restaurant off of Old Seward Highway received advance notice of his Aug. 3 Emergency Order 15, which mandated no indoor dining for he entire month. Did his partners get an inside track to rent the equivalent of a large canvas room, and get fast-tracked for permits to convert the parking lot to a dining room floor?

Others wondered to MRAK whether the tent South constructed for the restaurant provided any additional guard against the COVID-19 coronavirus than a regular sit-down restaurant. Others around Anchorage had similar wall tents, and some restaurants even constructed wooden walls for their outdoor courtyards.

Earlier today, the new Bear Paw restaurant on the corner of C Street and Tudor was hopping with business, but there were no takers for the outdoor seating area.

The latest order from Berkowitz orders people to stay home as much as possible: “Everyone in the Municipality of Anchorage (the “municipality”) shall limit outings and physical contact with those outside of their household and a small chosen group of other individuals. On the occasions when individuals leave home, they shall maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from any person outside their household/small group whenever possible. Individuals are required to wear a cloth face covering or mask in public, as detailed in Emergency Order 13.”


  1. 6% CDC numbers they are gonna be scrambling and fighting off lawsuits like no-see-ums… you made your own bed Ethan …

  2. This continuing stupidity on the heels of the new Covid report stating just 6% of nationwide deaths were from pure Covid, 94% of deaths had complicating ailments. Berky is obtuse, to put it nicely.

    • If someone who has diabetes gets COVID & dies much earlier than they would have without contracting COVID – what would you attribute their death to? Diabetes or COVID?

  3. Who the hell cares what this “Mayor” decrees? Are you Free Americans or Communist Proles? The Mayor has no clothes.

    • Mark, yes I’m chalking up that typo to auto-fill. It’s fixed now, but you made me laugh. -sd

  4. The structure at South looks like it is completely closed in, so how is that any safer than a room that actually has a good ventilation system? And are they carrying the food from the restaurant to that tent? How sanitary is that? Lots of questions to be asked with no answers other than absurd edicts. And I bet South didn’t have to wait with baited breath until Friday afternoon to find out what was going to happen come Monday.
    If you have a small restaurant/bar right now you still cannot open due to the tables having to be 10 ft apart and no one allowed at a bar or counter. And if one customer sits at a table no one else can join him/her. What do these people running our town think is going to happen here? What will be left of Anchorage if they keep going on like this? It is truly unconscionable.

  5. Gee… what are the odds. Cold weather is less than a month away, and outdoor dining is going to be uncomfortable regardless of how many heaters are in the tent. So, God-Emperor Berkowitz has to protect his investments.

    This is my shocked face.

  6. All this outdoor dining is gonna stop here in about two weeks or less as fall and winter progress. No one will be eating outside. It’s ridiculous. You want patrons to go to a restaurant, yet the last thing they are going do is sit out in the cold with cold food…. Over a stupid virus that wasn’t near as bad as purported… Insanity!!

  7. How is it possible that one man can adopt laws and regulations that infringe on the most basic constitutional right — the right to free speech under the First Amendment? It’s hard to speak with a mask covering your mouth. It’s also very difficult to understand the words spoken by someone wearing a mask. Clearly, Berkowitz’s mask law violates my free speech rights under the First Amendment. I have called and written Governor Dunleavy’s office dozens of times and he will not stop Berkowitz’s crimes. Dunleavy must be afraid of Berkowitz. The same for President Trump. He says he’s in control and says he’s opposed to fascists and liberals, but he won’t send in the federal police to liberate Anchorage. If Dunleavy and Trump don’t take action soon, Anchorage citizens will suffocate and die. Act now.

    • I agree with you about Berkowitz trampling our rights, but I do not want the feds coming down on AK. I think Trump is right not to storm in here; no way do I want a federal police force descending on our state – that’s a very dangerous road to take. Trump might use purse strings to persuade but do you think Murkowsi, Sullivan and Young would let that get any traction? They’re the ones that should be jumping in here. I also think this shows that Trump understands the US Constitution. Rights are reserved to the various states unless enumerated in the Constitution, and it would take some serious legal work to demonstrate that masks infringe on the right to free speech (although I do agree totally with you about that, it might take some effort to get a judge to do so).
      Dunleavy is another matter. His specific job is to protect and preserve the rights (NOT the “health!”) of Alaskans. While I am a believer in local decision-making, at some point the governor needs to step up and make it hurt (fiscally, at least, and legally as well) for the mayor to trample our rights.
      In the end, though, it is up to the people themselves to right these wrongs. Truly, if people in Anchorage would resist these outrageous mandates, the issue would be over. If a majority of businesses would ignore these mandates, and even a significant minority of the public would cooperate and support them, there is no way Berkowitz’ goons could keep up with the fines etc. I have yet to “obey” the unconstitutional order to muzzle or restrict my gatherings, and the huge majority of people I encounter agree with me, but say they do not do the same because they might get “dirty looks.” And that, right there, is why we are where we are today.

  8. ” Berkowitz allows…” That says it all. Until citizens demand that those in power can justify their health mandates with real science and facts, and have the ability to charge them in criminal /civil court if they get it wrong, then these petty tyrants will continue to proliferate.

  9. Berkowitz allows restaurants to open? Who is he? An emperor? A king? People of Anchorage should get together and boycott his establishments. Enough is enough … I just went to do my COVID-19 test on Lake Otis Blvd. I established an account on line, the computer did not ask for my ID. I went to the test facility, no one even verified who I am and whether I am the same person on the established profile… no one. No one really takes it seriously and everyone is playing this game. People, stop being stupid.

  10. Lol so the local governments (small gov) are supposed to take action in lieu of federal action, but when they do it’s an authoritarian dictatorship?

  11. Did our diminutive San Francisco Treat purposely hold off until The Perfect Cup was killed off to take a little weight off the knee he has on Los Anchorage’s neck?

  12. “All outdoor gatherings involving consumption of food or beverages are limited to 50 or fewer. If there is no food or beverages involved, the limit is 100. ”
    Would someone please explain to me WHY the absence of food or beverages makes a difference on COVID transmission?

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