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Saturday, July 11, 2020
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Mandatory masks for Anchorage

One-third of Alaska’s population — those in the Anchorage municipality from Girdwood to Chugiak — will be subject to a mask mandate implemented by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

All persons inside of Anchorage, as of Monday at 8 am, will need to mask their nose and mouths if they are in a public building or place such as restaurant, bar, store, or other facility.

Berkowitz said he is “astounded” at all the uninformed pushback he has heard against the mask mandate. “I am just astounded by the number of constitutional scholars in our community,” he said.

Berkowitz said he had three options: Do nothing and let the COVID-19 virus spread, enact a mask mandate, or shut down the economy once again. He chose the mask mandate as the least consequential choice in terms of how it negatively impacts people.

There are exceptions: Young children, those with certain health conditions or breathing problems, and if a mask would interfere with your duties in some way.

He said that he does not expect people to wear masks when they are eating in a restaurant or sipping a beverage.

“It helps generate consumer confidence in the marketplace,” he said. “People don’t feel safe going to restaurant. They don’t feel safe going to bars. They don’t feel safe going to stores.”

He pointed to an op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News authored by “a number of economists and they came to the same conclusion.”

(Four of the six authors of that op-ed had also signed the recall petition against Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and the two that did not are not registered voters in Alaska.) Many of Dunleavy’s supporters across the state do not support a mask mandate and he has been reluctant to force Alaskans to mask up.

Berkowitz said that the mandate “can extend” to office settings where people are not in contact with the public.

The end date for the mask mandate is the end of July, Berkowitz said.

This story will be updated.

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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

  • “ Berkowitz said he is “astounded” at all the uninformed pushback he has heard against the mask mandate. “I am just astounded by the number of constitutional scholars in our community,” he said.”

    What a condescending jerk!

    • Yep, him and Dunbar! Total Communists!
      ]

    • I agree!

      I am astound by the audacity of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, his belief that he is an all powerful ruler, who dictates his will and expects absolute adherence!

      With him it’s always been about virtue signaling and trying to show everyone that he is more powerful than the Governor.

      It boils down to personal accountability. If you feel like you need to wear a mask or stay home, then do it. However do not force your will on to others, you worry about you and the rest of us will do what we need to do.

      • You have to wear shoes and shirts in stores. Why don’t you protest that? Somebody making you do that right?

        • As I stated in a previous post. If a business owner wants me to wear a mask to enter their property, I will because it is his property. That is their domain, not the dominion of the Mayor. I can choose not to enter an establishment or not. I believe that the harm caused by wearing a mask are greater than the risk of Covid19. I will not wear a mask in God free air and if I am 6′ away than it should not matter. The Mayor with his virtue signaling will not dictate to me how I will protect myself. He has indicated that violating social distancing while advocating for Democrat sanction racism is acceptable, so his selective enforcement is a testiment to his Political hypocrisy. I’m not interested in his liberal games and exercises in oppressing those who think differently than him.

          The man who served as my dad was black, my Wife is Asian and my daughter wants to be a police woman. We believe that everyone is equal and all lives matter.

          The Democrats are pushing a very divisive, hate filled agenda and Berkowitz is towing that distructive line.

          • Agree 100%

          • If you had AIDS or tuberculosis or MRSA, would you tolerate similar treatment because it’s their “domain”?

          • I couldn’t agree more with your statement, I absolutely feel the same way! I am reading around and trying to find a way to fight back against this mandatory mask law, I don’t believe it will end in July and this communist way of living could become what they call our “ new normal”. I don’t like the looks of the future for this beautiful “ free” Country we call home. Is there a petition or anything going around to push back against this?? Any ideas?

          • Dang right. Awesome post absolutely true, my husband was just saying the same message yesterday. He’s following his liberal friends, following suit. I can’t wait until he is done and out, thank God this is his final term. Also the Supreme Court said it’s unconstitutional to make people wear masks. Liberals don’t care about following the law, they think they can make laws up as they go.

        • Would you protest if you were mandated to wear a pink long sleeved shirt? Or maybe a pair of purple Birkenstocks? If not, then you are another San Franciscan polluting Los Anchorage!

          Has everybody forgotten who mandated the wearing of yellow six-pointed stars?

          Everybody?

    • It’s about time!! It’s overdue!! THANK YOU MAYOR BERKOWITZ FOR SHOWING SOME SENSE!!! It would be even better if we could close our borders! Alaska had the opportunity to be like New Zealand with the virus and blew it. Now we are stuck with the best of 3 bad choices.

      • I bet the Jews thought that.. Until they were pushed into box cars.. At gun point.

    • Frankly I can’t blame the ‘idiots’ who don’t get it. Wasn’t it the government who lied to us saying masks DON”T work? Now not only do they but you must now wear one?

      The virus is fading in strength and may through it’s own mutational changes meet it’s own demise. In the meantime with more testing and a BUTT-TON of money to be had, we have to trumpet these increased numbers.

      The Berkowitz blame thrower set on high…

    • I agree.

  • Civil disobedience! I have called Ethan’s office and demanded a call back as to legal repercussions for not wearing a mask. Because I refuse to do so and I want to know ahead of time cause I will have a lawyer geared up!
    Sounds like to me a mass protest is in order! Not just a drive, but walk!

    • I’m with you! I will not cow-tow to dictators to make others “feel” safe.

    • Question… If masks are required, does that give the people of Anchorage a free pass to open or conceal carry without being charged with a felony…? I carry every day because of the “colorful” people (thugs and homeless) around the area I work in. Between a misdemeanor or a felony, I’ll take the misdemeanor.

  • “People don’t feel safe….” Then they should stay home, wear a mask, stay 6′ apart, shop on line or have things delivered to their car, etc. Making everyone wear a mask is not the answer. I will not be wearing one next week when I go shopping. I have not worn one yet. We will see what happens.

    • I haven’t worn one and will not wear one. Dictator Berkowitz and his fellow comrades can kiss my a@#.

      • We would but that would require additional protection.

    • Agree 100%

  • Trump said it best “after all, what have you got to lose?”.

  • I too am shocked at the number of push backers for the sake of simply not wanting to do as one is told even as lives are at stake. Many left coast attitudes end up in AK running from the law, their parents or society. The thought of anti establishment homesteading firmly planted in their infant brains only to find out they could have done it all in Seattle or Portland. They really ought to make a movie from this. Escape from new York, or Soylent green or omega man comes to mind. Bryce edgmon can be the president of the failed coup attempt. The captain cook hotel can be where the homeless have taken over. Nightly patrols run scared as infected tourists try to get even. The natives are all laughing, knowing they will be around to get it all back as society abandons the failed take over. I’m going to go with Lou diamond Phillips as the lead role playing Billy jack.

    • Wow Greg. You need to get back on your meds. Or turn the oxygen up a little higher. I hope it is not too late for you.

      • Oh lighten up. I thought it was a funny characatur of what is going on right now. Of course I wouldn’t use Lou Diamond Phillips although he does need the work. Probably go with some Casper the ghost white guy claiming to be native.

    • Listen to yourself!!!! Seriously!??! The masks don’t protect anyone!! This is common knowledge! It’s people who think like you that got us wrapped up in the patriots act!! You hand your freedom over with no questions asked simply because they told you “ it’s whats best for you” you know Nazis did the same to the Jews ! You don’t have the right to hand over my rights and my freedoms along with youres just because you are scared of the boost man!! Stay at home if you are sick or have health concerns, shop online do what you gotta do! How dare you force those of us who aren’t afraid and want to make our own choices , bend to your idea of what’s right or wrong?!?! This is pure insanity!!

  • California has had a Face covering requirement for quite sometime. It has not stopped the rate of COVID19 infections there…so why does Mayor Mussolini “The Fascist” think it will be any different here?
    Mayor Berkowitz has Little man syndrome at its best!!

    • Dictator Burkowitz knows it will not be any different here. Mandates have never been about the virus, it’s about control. After we get used to following orders to wear a mask in order to shop, next comes mandatory vaccines for our own good, of course.

    • Lets face it, this so called COVID 19 has been around longer than they will admit
      A lot of us have been infected with it and have survived. If you want to live in fear play their games. Four months ago we were all going to die. Guess what folks — Live for today, as no one knows what will happen tomorrow. Do you want to be a puppet on a string? I don’t.

      • Well then, how about being a patient on a ventilator? Apparently so…

    • The Chinese have been wearing masks since Christ left Chicago and how did that work out?

      • Ha!

  • So our local government is telling us we must wear a mask to reduce people’s fear? Masks and social distancing were suggested to flatten the curve. “Experts” have said that these measures were simply to prevent our health care systems from being overrun. We have not had that problem in Anchorage. These measures will not stop the spread, just potentially slow it.

    Why don’t our leaders speak to those with compromised immune systems, encouraging them to hunker down and protect themselves from the virus while healthy individuals get back to work?

    Why are immune system building methods not being promoted? There’s no better time than this to begin educating people on the very foundation of life… how to properly feed our cells. Instead, government overreach in mandating masks is harming people’s immune systems. We encounter countless bacteria and viruses on a daily basis which keeps the immune system strong. Sterilizing everything we touch and avoiding contact down regulates the immune system ensuring that when one does contract the virus it will have a greater impact.

    The virus WILL spread and it’s only a matter of time before we all are infected. Death rates and rates of severe symptoms are proven to be WAY less than initially projected and not much different than influenza.

    Stop watching the news, get out in the sun, do positive things for the people you love, be grateful for what you do have, and eliminate stress and fear from your life that for the vast majority of people has far worse repercussions on the body than this virus.

    • Agree 100%.

  • Another reason not to go to San FranAnchorage. Good luck with your businesses surviving.

    • Businesses are doing it here and people are out.

  • Hey, I’m sitting nice and happy in the valley. His ridiculous mandates don’t effect me at all.

    My recommendation; move to the valley or better yet; vote his — out of office.

    Sorry, Anchorage.

  • Oooh, economists said so. They’re never wrong.

    • My thoughts, too.

  • Pure “organic bovine fertilizer”!

    Most of what the ‘virtue signalers’ are wearing do not constitute a bonafide mask anyway.

    Ive seen idiots with homemade crocheted face coverings! LOL! More gap than fabric.

    Little Ethan going out with a bang

    • He is probably there to stay. AK has gone liberal while you weren’t looking. It will take a fight to turn it back and I don’t see that happening. Too easy to get on a blog and complain rather than put in the time, effort and cost to run a statewide campaign. I once saw a lady wearing a crotchet top. It wasn’t filtering anything, so yeah, you gotta use common sense.

  • I hope people do not forget how Berkowitz has handled this pandemic. Because we will
    have an opportunity to express our displeasure when he runs for office again. And trust me, he will do exactly that. His nasty rude condescending comment should be a constant reminder of how little he thinks of Alaskans. His hypocrisy is what is astounding. He has not been wearing a mask and has not been social distancing while unmasked!
    I have been around Alaska politics for over 50 years and have never seen a leader in State or Muni government be so power crazed.
    I remember when he was an assistant district attorney and was afraid to try criminal cases. He would find all sorts of ways to avoid going to
    Trial. As a result criminal defendants often got sweetheart plea deals or had their cases dismissed. He failed as a prosecutor and now shows how incompetent he is as a Mayor. When someone needs leadership from Berkowitz he shows how incapable he is at providing it. Thank goodness he is termed out as Mayor.

    • Actually, it looks as though Mayor B plans on a run for the Governorship. Can’t imagine him running our State like he runs Anchorage. If you thought Walker was bad… .

    • If there’s a mail in election it won’t matter how many people vote against him. The liberals WILL cheat unless the worthless republicans do something about it and Alaska will turn as blue as Los Anchorage.

  • His comments were curiously ambiguous with regard to penalties in today’s call-in show. Several touched on constitutional authority but there was a general mushiness when it came to what exactly this mandate / rule / voodoo-law should be called. He referred to it as a rule, the show host referred to it once as law and was not corrected. Either way, there’s a lot of jabber about this issue that appears to not matter.

    If we’ve learned anything from the recent outburst from societal detritus it’s that without consequences there’s no accountability and it would appear Berky’s “rule” would come under that same heading.

    Some woman called in and tossed an insult as her first comment. Referred to him as Berkowurst and then cackled as if she cracked herself up. He fielded that caller calmly as if it insults were a fairly familiar occurrence.

  • Biden says he will mask up everyone by executive order.

  • i wear my mask every day. Around my neck!

  • This is from the NEJM, “Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era”, published May 21st 2020. This is the second paragraph:

    “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.” This article is available online.

    Even the picture at the top of the article shows how easily masks are defeated, the Mayor is touching his face while adjusting the mask, after probably touching a whole lot of stuff around him.

    Social distancing is a good idea. And if you are not able to do that, because you are in close proximity with a large group of people for an extended period of time, then wear a mask, correctly.

    • Your comment misleads. But I’ll leave the explanation to the original authors of the NEJM article. Here is their comment where they clarify they were advocating for more mask wearing, especially in closed or confined areas.

      nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2020836

      “In truth, the intent of our article was to push for more masking, not less. It is apparent that many people with SARS-CoV-2 infection are asymptomatic or presymptomatic yet highly contagious and that these people account for a substantial fraction of all transmissions.2,3 Universal masking helps to prevent such people from spreading virus-laden secretions, whether they recognize that they are infected or not.4”

      And importantly.

      “We did state in the article that “wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection,” but as the rest of the paragraph makes clear, we intended this statement to apply to passing encounters in public spaces, not sustained interactions within closed environments. A growing body of research shows that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is strongly correlated with the duration and intensity of contact:”

      But hey, don’t believe me, a born-and-raised Alaskan doctor who lives in NYC, and is currently IN Alaska so my kids can visit grandparents.

      I wear a mask to protect you all. Not because I’m afraid of the virus. But because I respect all of you and this great state.

      [Link removed by moderator.]

      • Bully for you. I’ll keep my immune system as healthy as possible by giving it something to do. As a “doctor” you surely ought to know that an immune system will crash if not set to work and the next mild flu will decimate us all. Hence I regard your claim with suspicion. Everyone seems to be conveniently ignoring the part where states that did not shut down or mandate anything fared no worse than any of us and fared a great deal better than most states that have been panicking like the stupid sheep they are.
        .

  • If someone doesn’t feel safe going somewhere, they shouldn’t go there!! It is a personal choice. It is dumb as dirt to make a case for wearing a mask unless you are eating or drinking. Well, that pretty much eliminates masks for bars and restaurants. And where did the legislation come from that allows the mayor to make demands on how people behave in private businesses. If a business doesn’t want a mask requirement, the mayor can’t demand they institute one. What a moron.

  • Relax everyone. No surprises here. The time to fight leftist fire with fire is in November, when the instructions say use a blue or black pen and fill in the little oval completely. The ‘mail in’ ballots may not be so convenient as claimed by the democrats. At least for the voters. Across the country, I haven’t heard of a ‘mail in’ voting scheme that passed muster yet. Every single one has been troubled with fraud. In any case, the ‘masking’ of Anchorage citizens is a new challenge for the individual citizen’s health, like it or not, because ethan says so. I believe it is part of the leftist plan to bastardize our voting system with unlimited fraud through “vote by mail”. Little ethan is bound and determined to take care of everyone, because he knows better than anyone else and the ‘masking’ makes it easier for him to ‘justify’ “vote by mail”. He gets to stand on his box and give orders that many of his supporters are calling “law”. The “rising” infection rate is the result of ‘rising’ testing. Most people don’t know if they have wuhan v until they get tested. No symptoms, no problem. The ones most at risk are seniors and most of them have figured out how to take care of common personal health dangers, through common sense, mostly. Read now, the real fatality rate of wuhan v sufferers is .6%. Less than the flu.
    I don’t think Anchorage has ‘seen it all’ yet. The closer to November, the more intense it will be.

  • I will not wear a mask.

  • Typical Harvard illiterate. Arm yourselves, it’s coming. These morons need to be run out of office. The real problem is the illiterates who vote for them

  • Shut down. There would be no city left to mayor.
    Took advice from out of state. Great – probably from NY or WA.
    I do not fear going to stores, bars or restaurants and feel no safer with a mask.

    • Look at you, double digits IQ and an extra chromosome! Your parents must be so proud!

  • Folks, is this really the hill you all want to die on? Your sacred freedom not to wear a mask infringes on the rights of others to stay healthy. And not wearing one because you say it infringes on your right to free speech, well, there are limits on that too.

    Buck up, do your part to protect yourself and others, and live with a clear conscience.

    What have you got to lose, except maybe the fear of being perceived as “weak” because you’re wearing one.

    Geez.

    • This hill? Come on man. It’s the chip away factor of our freedoms. A chunk here, a dollop there…until we have nothing left. That’s how they operate.

      • Exactly right.

    • This has absolutely nothing to do with public safety because this virus simply is not that dangerous. I have nothing from which to protect myself or others. All of this is nothing but a power play. Witness that none of the “leaders” from Washington to Berkotwit have ever worn masks consistently or practiced the 6 ft rule. Why is that? Tell me. They stand crammed together on tiny stages, speaking into germ laden microphones that someone else has just dropletted on. Why aren’t they dropping like flies? What about the homeless? Why aren’t bodies littering the streets? This absolutely is the hill and I have no intention of dying on it. Take one freedom away, take one right away, the next one becomes easier and the one after that even easier.

      My conscience is extremely clear. I have done my research and made my decision. I have absolutely no problem with what you do as long you stay out of my way. The thing that I have to lose is the same thing you have to lose but it seems clear that losing such things doesn’t mean the same to you. I believe you will be finding out quite differently in the coming months and years. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Be prepared.

      • You do realize that 20000 folks died in NY right?

        • You do realize that NY, along with 4 other states were storing their corona-positive patients in long-term care facilities and nursing homes which exacerbated the problem? Many of those people did not need to die, but did due to the same tried and true democratic leadership in those states.
          Alaska has had 12 deaths. The state of Alaska yearly death averages for the last 4 years shows we are still on par with an average year.

          Just because other states have poor management and leadership doesn’t mean we should give up what has worked for us.

          • Yes I do realize that bit other stated have high numbers from high population. Don’t give Alaska a passing grade just from sheet dumb luck from a low population.

      • Such unfathomable paranoia.

        The government isn’t coming to bust down your door in the middle of the night. You need to relax a little – pour a glass of wine, have a smoke, and then get back to your desperate Tinder swiping.

  • what surprises me is that Bank Hold-ups have not gone up? Is this just under reporting?

  • Right on!

  • Good for Los Anchorage. Wake up voters. I might wear a mask if I deem it appropriate, if I lived in Los Anchorage I would probably deem it appropriate. I choose not to live in Los Anchorage and I choose not to wear a mask. Anywhere I deem that I may need to wear a mask I don’t go, problem solved. Personal choice and responsibility on full display…take note leftists! No government mandates required.
    .
    Online ordering, curbside pickup, delivery of everything…times they are a changing and the private sector, capitalism is leading the way once again. I don’t need to wear a mask to go into your store, I can pick up my goods outside without ever going inside your store or have it delivered to me.
    .
    Capitalism wins every time, not statism.

  • My rights do not end where your fear begins.

  • 9500 new today. Daytona going on mandatory masks tomorrow. Mask up. Stay safe.

    • Looking at current Florida statistics, 3,390 COVID deaths so far. Florida flu death statistics for 2017 was 3,100. Not exactly the huge plague they’ve been hyping, especially since the cases are largely mild and asymptomatic.

      • The difference is this virus can kill all through the year instead of dying out when it warms up.

        • And furthermore, Notkaren, maybe “only” 3390 have died so far, but that is in spite of massive public distancing and shutdown efforts to stop CV, which we do not do with the regular flu. Your argument is without merit, and anyone who logical thinker can see right through it.

          So you don’t want to wear a mask. Good for you, and your precious “principles”. Why not just come out and say that instead of trying to hide behind some BS argument that Covid is no more dangerous than the the flu?

    • Greg,
      Hoot, hoot, said the wise old owl He-haw, he-haw, said the ass. Quack, quack, said the know-it-all duck. One pays heed. One makes a lot of noise. The last is a liberal with nothing to add but a lot to quack about.
      Risk of a new “scamdemic” is not worth the worry. Risk of leftists destroying America are real. Risk of listening to the ‘duck’, is country, liberty and the American way being “liberated” by the socialists.. If you are in Florida, you’re close to the action. Stay alert.

      • No doubt
        Anyone calling me a liberal…..thems fighting words.

      • I have my 9 with me everywhere I go. Don’t shoot the messenger though.

  • Hopefully the business owners in Wasilla and surrounding areas will start advertising in Anchorage that shopping in their town can be done with or without mask.
    Defund the Idiot, take your money outside the city of Anchorage.

  • The Anchorage home charter provides that an EO needs to be ratified by the assembly by a measure of all present or 3/4 of the body as a whole. As far as I am aware this EO has not been ratified, but arguably may not need to be ratified because the Anchorage assembly in its “wisdom” chose to give Berkowitz blanket authority to respond to the pandemic by ratifying one of his earlier EOs. This was a large mistake because the scientific basis for a mask mandate is unsettled and we are left with an executive and no oversight mechanism over arbitrary requirements like this one. Notably Anchorage has a bill of rights the 11th provision of which provides for immunity from EO’s that are not ratified by the assembly. Has the assembly abandoned us altogether? The assembly needs to step in and reign in the mayor and we should all watch closely how they vote in this issue if it comes to a vote, which it should.

  • Well folks, VP Pence today finally recommended, at long last, that people wear masks. In speaking, he almost sounded like he was choking on crow swallowed backwards, but he said it.

    So, point forward, you are free to start wearing without fear of denigration or retribution from fellow Conservatives. Now follow your Leader’s advice – mask up, and do your DUTY as responsible citizens and Patriots.

  • The mayor could solve the problem today. Just declare Anchorage a Virus Free Zone. The liberals
    know that worked so well with Drug Free Zones, Gun free Zones. Anyway do not worry you will not
    hear about the Virus after Nov.6th, election day.

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