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HomePoliticsBethel, Alaska voters approve Prop. 1, banishing future city-imposed mask mandates

Bethel, Alaska voters approve Prop. 1, banishing future city-imposed mask mandates

Voters in Bethel, Alaska have had enough of mask mandates. On Oct. 4, 2022, they passed a ballot proposition banning city officials from enacting a mask mandate in the community.

By a vote of 323 to 297, voters approved a proposition on the Oct. 4 ballot that amended municipal code with one simple sentence: “The City of Bethel shall not enact any mandates requiring masks or face coverings.”

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The City of Bethel, population 6,548 in the last U.S. Census, has a mask mandate for all City of Bethel-owned buildings during “high community burden levels, according to its most recent Covid-19 policy, which was updated in April. The community burden level is established by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation for the City of Bethel.

The most recent community-wide mask mandate was passed by the Bethel City Council last December, and was in effect for 60 days for people:

  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
  • Obtaining services from a healthcare facility;
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi or bus;
  • Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when: Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
    Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyonefrom the public is present at the time;
  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
  • Working in or walking through public common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators,and parking facilities;
  • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s ownhousehold or residence) are present when unable to physically distance;
  • Driving or operating any public transportation or taxi service or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of six feet frompersons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.

The ordinance, which has expired, is at this link.

Bethel is considered a Democrat stronghold. Voting in a ban on masks is an unusual move for a liberal community. Turnout in this election was about 15.5% of registered voters.

Bethel voters on Tuesday also voted down a ballot proposition that would prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages except through a “Restaurant or eating place license, which authorizes the restaurant or eating place to sell beer and wine for consumption only on
the licensed premises; AND Package store license, limited to selling only beer and wine to a person present on licensed premises.”

Preliminary results for the candidates for Bethel City Council:

  • Rose “Sugar” Henderson – 453
  • Sophie Swope – 448
  • Patrick Snow – 414
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. I believe this is mostly symbolic. Wait until the next superbug comes along and people are dropping like flies. The handcuffs go on just as easily as they come off. Remember during the Spanish flu, the only thing that saved nome was complete isolation. But good for them for being a Johnny come lately after the smoke is cleared and after the bodies are in the ground, stick their head up and give the all clear.

    • Greg, God love you! The last hold out for Fauci! I have a special love for folks who take a stand and ignore the overwhelming evidence that contradicts their premise. You go Girl! Right up there with the flat earthers and a Helio-Centric deniers.
      Don’t ever change Greg, we need folks like you!
      I sincerely mean that Greg, over the years I’ve come to love hearing from you.
      Love Ya Man!

  2. Oh, to see the pearl-clutching of the KKK (Krazy Kovidian Kult) in the community after this vote!
    But I have to give Bethel voters a big “thumbs-up” for this acknowledgement of sanity, scientific wisdom and plain old common sense. If only The People’s Republic of Anchorage would make such a move.

  3. That’s unsual but also highly encouraging at least 15.5% of its 6000+population has a spine to bronco bethel’s democrat handlers. That nut head juneau based bethel town attorney better pipedown else the 15.5 voting public just
    may run her out when they tire of her crude humor and schemes representing bethel residents as such.

  4. Masking is a Democrat virtue signal. Let them stay masked. The oxygen depletion further clouds their brains. And it will keep the smell of marijuana and alcohol contained.

    • Is the Bethel marijuana getting lower doses of THC, finally? Brain cell impairment seems to be somewhat lessened. Did Mark Springer take leave of the area?

  5. Good for them, it was never about health, it’s all about control. The West’s version of the Burka. Good to see people rise up against tyranny. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask, wear five masks just don’t force others.

  6. The industry in Bethel is the health corp/hospital, and the School District. So that means a lot of the people voting to ban these policies are in fields that have been very affected (schools) or where they have more knowledge than most as to the effectiveness of masks…progressive bias did not seem to get in the way of logic for those with the experience, and let’s not forget the bad Orange man was not on the ballot.. so TDS was not allowed to play a role and logic and experience was. If those two things can overcome the irrationalism of a progressive talisman, such as a mask? It gives one hope.

  7. When I emailed my House Rep (Tom McKay, District 15, Anchorage) during the primaries to tell him that I would be voting for him I also asked about the status of the Republicans passing law to prevent the state from shutting down businesses, requiring masks and vaccine mandates, and otherwise depriving citizens of their personal liberties and freedoms.

    He responded to thank me for my vote, but haven’t heard further.

    Good on the people of Bethel for casting off their shackles at the voting booth.

    Don’t hold your breath for elected Republicans to champion the broader cause on your behalf.

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