Free shots for tourists: Dunleavy expands on details of plan to save small tourism businesses with ARP funds - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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Free shots for tourists: Dunleavy expands on details of plan to save small tourism businesses with ARP funds

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Alaska’s small tourism business owners are hurting, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he knows time is running out for many of them. With no certainty that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden Administration, and Canada will cooperate to allow a cruise ship season this year, Dunleavy is working on plans to try to keep businesses alive for another year.

He’s setting aside $150 million for the tourism sector, which will be a mix of marketing and grants.

And, to entice people to come to Alaska, he said the State of Alaska will give a free Covid-19 vaccine to anyone who comes to Alaska who wants the shot. People will be able to get the shot at the Anchorage and Fairbanks airports.

As for Alaska’s part of the American Rescue Plan money, “we are going to be proposing the Legislature looks at tranches of money. About $1 billion is heading our way. How do we help our businesses, tourism, business structure, harbors, ports, and how do we help protect Alaska,” he said.

His plan will look at tranches of funding from the ARP money, to include:

  • Protecting Alaskans – $80 million
    • Emergency response costs including addressing the domestic violence impacts of COVID-19 ($6M), portable equipment, and individual security including food security, and fishermen COVID-19 coverage.
  • Alaska Tourism Revitalization – $150 million
    • Industry relief to promote tourism and adapt services for potential loss of cruise ship season.
  • Economic Recovery and Innovation– $325 million
    • Relief to businesses and organizations impacted by the pandemic and preparing Alaska’s economy to emerge as a destination for workers, investors, and families.
  • Build Alaska – Infrastructure Investment – $325 million
    • Alaska’s backlog of infrastructure needs includes safe water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure investments; leverage local and other funding using matching grant programs will benefit under this proposal.
  • General Fund Offset – $139.26 million
    • Utilize ARP funding, up to $1.02B, to offset existing general fund expenditures.

The American Rescue Plan Act also provided $230.7 million for payments to Alaska communities, of which $185.4 million requires appropriation and distribution by the State of Alaska to communities based on a federal formula.

Numerous state programs were awarded increased federal funding through the ARP, totaling $220 million for public health and safety, workforce development, education, transportation, and emergency management.

Among the plans, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer has been tapped to visit several communities dependent on tourism to learn the best strategy for helping small businesses.

His first stop will be in Sitka on Tuesday. Then, he’ll have a meeting in Juneau with Zoom capabilities so people around Southeast Alaska can attend. After that, it’s off to Ketchikan next Thursday, and Kodiak on Saturday. He’ll also visit with small tourism business leaders in Fairbanks, Healy, and Nome.

The tour is to inform a report to the governor on how best to keep businesses alive through yet another year that will likely be grim for these seasonal business owners. The focus will be on Alaska-owned businesses, Meyer said.

Dunleavy said he is losing hope with action needed by the CDC to allow a cruise season to proceed this year.

“If we don’t know in the next couple of days, I’m afraid those assets will be deployed by those companies in other places. We need a little help from the CDC.”

“In the event that doesn’t occur, we are fully prepared to file suit to talk about the impacts to our communities and municipalities. If that is the only took that’s going to be let in our toolbox we are prepared to do that,” he said.

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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.

Latest comments

  • Good on ya, Guv. Burn the recall!

  • Money should be spent on the long list of roads across the state that are in horrible condition and need some TLC. This could create jobs and make our roads safer.

  • Biden is trying to hurt Alaska as most of the state is Trump country however the places getting hit the hardest by his attack on the state are the most left leaning areas.
    Southeast lefties had worked to shut down anything other than tourism and now that tourism is a bust, they have no means to make a living. It is funny how their savior Joe has thrown them under the bus.
    Southeast needs to diversify revenue, to include resource extraction. This might be what is needed for them to get their head out of their ……..
    Sorry to Ketchikan who gets lumped in with SE, but y’all got your lefties down their too but at least you have some diversification in revenue.

  • Well tourist get bent over regularly here in Alaska. Best to start at the airport

  • What a guy!
    A real leader taking care of the communities who deserve to miserably suffer under Harris/Biden without any help. Hahaha. no! they are still part of Alaska! So Governor advocates and helps them contiune their existence. What a guy!

  • Great plan, a positive step for Alaska economic survival; four months of tourism means the world to many. What happens when the free money elopes? We need commerce. Well done Guv.

  • Free vaccines to tourists is a dumb idea. Did Dr. Zink come up with this?

  • Dunleavy would do better if he would follow in the footsteps of Florida and just open things up; including Anchorage, and he stop this Covid tyrannical nonsense. I have tried to convince friends and family to come visit Alaska this year, and all have refused, instead booking trips to Florida. As long as Dunleavy keeps pushing the shot, and these Covid travel mandates, he will keep pushing people away from wanting to visit this state. If you want to promote tourism then promote freedom from COVID tyranny. People value their freedom more than a free vaccine shot.

  • Two things. First, I’m a bit confused; aren’t the shots already free? You don’t get charged anywhere you go now. Secondly, who wants to spend two days of their vacation with self inflicted flu? Your arriving gift is two days of feeling like crap for free…. and for a bonus, if you stay long enough, we can send you back with the second dose to help you really remember how nice your trip was.

  • Wonder why they are free? Maybe you are the product, of a very large medical experiment…

  • You know! The Masks on today’s Native women sure looks uncomfortably natural looking across their mouths.
    Here its the visual showing “the native female” supression that occurs inside and outside the Native community-the you dont agree with the Native female opinion where the Native female is laughed at or beaten up.

    Seeeing the Director of ANHC all masked up behind the Governor, the picture is showing Thousands of words.

  • Governor stop all this Stupid vaccination passport or employment
    Tell Alaska we’re open.
    Please tell Anchorage to stop the Shut Downs, there hurting, and destroying Anchorage, stop the madness.

  • This is stupid. Come to Alaska, get a free Covid shot? Half baked and useless, just like the entire Dunleavy experience.

    Exactly how many people does he think this will sway? Better to spend the efforts on getting as many of our people vaccinated as willing and promote we’re the most Covid free place in America.

    I’m not sure if this man is breathtakingly stupid, gullible, or desperate. Perhaps all. But it and he have been a disaster for Alaska

  • Right. Should have stuck with the brilliant Walker. We could have simply taxed our way out of the whole covid situation………..

  • Follow Florida, just open up. Get rid of the useless masks and let people be free. Most have had the virus and many have been vaccinated. Those at risk know who they are. A few months back here in Juneau we had an outbreak of 12 people in a nursing home test positive. All recovered without incident. The Lefties won’t have it though, they’ll cry about new strains and want to lock down again.

  • Offering free shots is disgusting! People want freedom not shots! Open up like Texas and Florida and watch people come. Freedom is what makes people want to visit, not a free experimental shot! No one I know wants to come to Alaska because of their draconian Covid laws of filling out paper work for the health department to enter the state. Instead all of my friends and family have booked trips this year to Florida. The governor needs to grow a pair and open the state up instead of offering eugenic kill shots as an incentive. No one will come unless the governor promotes freedom from Covid tyranny!

  • In away this appears as a requirement in visiting Alaska or travel mandatory vaccine and vaccine passports. How many have chose to not May feel pressure on arrive to get the vaccine. Lot of sheep out there.
    Why offer outsiders before Alaskans.
    Like Biden illegals first American second

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