COVID update 8: Berkowitz shuts restaurants, bars; Canada closes border



Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has signed an emergency order shutting down restaurants for dine-in service. Breweries, bars, and dine-in restaurants will close tonight at 5 pm and not open until March 31. Buffet and salad bars will be closed to self service. Drive-thru, take-out, and delivery services are allowed. The restriction does not apply to grocery stores.

All entertainment facilities including theaters, gyms, and bingo halls will be closed starting at 5 p.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, the order states.

This is the second state of emergency the mayor has declared; the first one was last year when he thought the State was not going to give the Municipality any money. He lifted that state of emergency in September.

The closure of bars comes just as municipal ballots go out to voters with the questions that include Berkowitz’s request for a tax on alcoholic drinks.

“By making sacrifices now, we reduce the likelihood that we will pay a larger cost later,” Berkowitz said. “These closures are consistent with CDC recommendations and with our strategy of doing what we can to reduce the possibility of transmitting COVID-19.

He also banned all gatherings with more than 50 people starting at 5 pm Monday, March 16 through the end of the month.

Outside Bean’s Cafe on Sunday afternoon, people were hanging out, waiting for mealtime.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the Municipality will institute additional social distancing measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 to Municipal employees. This includes increased use of tele-work practices, staggering shift times for certain departments and increased use of videoconference technology.

These measures do not impact police or fire services. Presumably Bean’s Cafe is not included in the shutdown.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he is closing the country’s borders to anyone not a citizen, an American or a permanent resident due to the coronavirus pandemic. He ordered all Canadian citizens abroad to come home immediately and then self-quarantine for 14 days.


  1. Wow!! Canada closing its borders and ordering all citizens home is a truly significant issue!! But thank God it’s still open to Americans,

  2. He doesn’t have the authority to do that. He has some power to make it happen (cops with guns), but no legal authority.

    • If you figure out a way to do a restaurant or bar economically with 10 or fewer people per President Trump’s guidance we’re all ears.

  3. I doubt if the Mayor’s action was based solely on conditions in Anchorage. I suspect that when his saw Comrade DeBlasio in NYC and whoever-they-have in San Francisco doing stuff like this, that was the deciding factor. We have to keep up with other “progressive” cities at all costs. Next he will declare an emergency and impose a massive city income tax by decree. He would try that sort of thing. “Never let a crisis go to waste” said Comrade Emanuel.

  4. Little “Berkie” is flexing his miniscule muscles. He’s not being proactive. He’s following the lib/left lead. Looks like he’s still got time to try and ram an alcohol tax down the throats of locals, among other things. I really don’t think the little guy knows what sacrifice is. The times, they are ‘a changing. Everyone may/will get a taste of personal sacrifice of some sort or another before this is over. Of course, it’ll be worse for some than others. Good time to be a “public employee”.

  5. does the groups of over 50 include Beans café and the downtown soup kitchen, and any other service group?

  6. Oops, a number of the commentators here should read Update #9. Or, maybe they’ll make the same comments about the President.

  7. Here’s an idea – as soon as it’s midnight 03/31/20, process all PFD applications and issue the mandatory, statutory amount to the people of Alaska to help them through this time of economic disaster. Do this no later than 04/15. This is much better than waiting for the feds to figure out some sort of “relief” scheme that only benefits the wealthy.

    • The cash payment idea, which originated in Congress, is part of the stimulus plan and the White House is now trying to push into law as soon as possible as if they and not Congress proposed it.

      Cash infusions will help, but we need a sane and rational comprehensive health plan first.

      If people can’t stay alive, money in their pockets isn’t going to be much of a concern.

      Taking the necessary steps to slow and stop the spread of the virus is or should be the priority.

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