Many Alaskans appear ready to open up economy again - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Many Alaskans appear ready to open up economy again

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A 23-hour Facebook poll on the Must Read Alaska page ended late Friday with over 1,500 participants; 82 percent of them said they are ready for the Alaska economy to be released from the government mandates that have destroyed many businesses and that are driving some Alaskans into poverty.

With tens of thousands Alaskans in the private sector suddenly unemployed by those who still have jobs in the public sector, a divide is developing between some who want the shutdown to continue as a health and safety measure to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and others who say the cure is worse than the disease.

On Wednesday, April 22, a group of Anchorage residents plan a rolling protest through downtown Anchorage. They’ll be meeting at the Loussac Library at 11:30 am with cars, trucks, and flags. (By coincidence, that is also Earth Day).

[Information on the rolling protest at this Facebook page.]

Similar protests are taking place across the country as citizens bristle against seemingly arbitrary decisions that have created winners and losers in the commercial sector.

The Dunleavy Administration acted quickly in building the supply of personal protective gear, testing capacity, and numerous mandates, but the vast majority Alaskans participating in the MRAK poll say they’re now ready to get back to work. Several posted comments to the effect that safeguards still need to be in place, such as wearing face coverings and taking extra precaution with hand hygiene.

One Alaskan who is ready to restore Alaska’s economy is Kenai Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, who wrote a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday:

“I have talked to many business owners on the Kenai Peninsula over the last several weeks and they are all struggling. If they have not been labeled essential, then they have been closed. Even so, all of their businesses are still down in revenue. Sadly, some have already failed and will never return. It will take years to recover economically from this COVID-19 event,” Pierce wrote. 

“We all need to be safe, but it’s time to return Alaskans to work, as soon as, possible. We must do both! Alaskans are smart, resilient, dependable, safety-conscious, hard-working and want to persevere through this crisis. Failure for Alaskans should never be the only option.

“The time is now, we need COVID-19 testing for all ASAP, its overdue. Waiting months for this virus to pass will be more than devastating. If we continue to wait, we risk losing the last bit of economic viability that we have left in our state.

“The Alaska Legislature has not been focused on the hardships we are experiencing. They have ignored important needs and have acted as if this event isn’t a problem? We need solutions now, not next week. 

“So, Governor, while they play politics with our daily lives, please return our liberties so we can succeed. Trust the people of Alaska! Execute your plans now to open Alaska.

“If you are sick or in a high-risk group, please stay home. Let those that can work safely, work.

“Governor Dunleavy, Alaskans are counting on you to lead and help is needed now,” Pierce concluded.

Alaska has gone from historic low unemployment this winter, at 5.8 percent, to the highest unemployment in state history, due to the economic shutdown at the federal, state, and local level.

Some 40,000 Alaskans applied for unemployment since the governor declared a state of emergency, with 38,000 of those claims are already processed, according to the Department of Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter.

President Donald Trump has set May 1 as the goal for opening the economy, but has said he is leaving it to governors. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has hinted that he’ll lift mandates soon, but has not given specifics beyond the ending some — but not all — prohibition against doctors providing “elective care” for non-COVID-19-related procedures.

What are your thoughts about lifting mandates? Share them in the comment section below.

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Written by

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

  • You can’t set a date. Have to wait on the numbers.

    • Yes you can set a date. Because the numbers are bogus.

      • Amen!

      • Probably way below actual numbers. It’s easier to miss people in a search than it is to catch too many of them.

      • Sigh. You don’t believe in the scientists and medical professionals who have made pandemics and viruses their lives work. Let me guess, you put your faith in a reality TV conman instead.

    • Greg-Gov. Dunleavy will not open the economy…He is on a power grab and will not let go. I wish I was wrong, but if he really wanted open Alaska he would just do it.

    • Ed,

      I get the arguments for the 1st and 14th Amendments in some cases in some places, especially the 1st, the 14th is a stretch based on laws that have been thoroughly scrutinized and tested by the courts including the SCOTUS.
      Can you explain how your 4th and 5th Amendment Rights are being violated please.

    • What, the suicide numbers?
      The alcoholism numbers?
      The divorce numbers?
      The domestic violence numbers?
      The business bankruptcy numbers?
      The home foreclosure numbers?
      The drug addiction numbers?
      The mental depression numbers?
      What numbers are you waiting for Greg?

    • You are free to self quarantine if that is your choice, but don’t force your desires for totalitarianism on liberty minded people who believe in the Constitution.
      The Constitution is the Law of the Land, and supersedes any and all orders by tyrannical governors, mayors, and others in positions of authority who are taking advantage of people’s fears and abusing their power.

  • I think it is obvious, that we may have jumped the gun and shut down the economy. Granted it is easy to judge this now after the fact.

    With the recommendations and mandates around the country to wear masks because so many may be asymptomatic or already had C-19 without realizing it, it’s time to re-open for business. Reports I have read in other states, those that were test were as high as 36% asymptomatic and another report 33% tested had the antibody. The death rate models have shown much lower rates also; not that they were very accurate in the first place.

    Thankfully, my company has ordered antibody testing for every employee and should be underway soon. I’m ready to be past this mess.

  • Look forward to it. There is no scientific reason not to. Just political

  • Open ‘er up. Those that want to stay inside isolated, certainly can as long as they wish.

  • The time to start opening businesses in Anchorage and across Alaska is now. We have all been educated in being safe with our actions and there is no reason not to trust the people to deal with the reopening of businesses safely. It is time to stop abiding by the policies of people who have NOT lost any income and have no iron in the fire. It is time to open all small businesses in Anchorage regardless of what our tiny Mayor thinks.

  • It is the liberals in our society that believe that they are smarter than the rest of us and that we should just let them make all the decisions about our lives. They are wrong and it is time to show them that they work for us, not the other way around.

    • The liberals and government are toast. They don’t realize it yet. The printers are in the vineyard and their tools are sharp. Things are changing forever, position yourself accordingly.


      Nassim Taleb has a book called “Skin in the Game”. I recommend it. (Just because a moron doesn’t realize that they have skin in the game doesn’t mean they don’t.)

    • Amen!

  • Amen.

  • Kudos for Kenai Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce for voicing out his and the citizens of Kenai to Gov. Dunleavy….I’m all for it. I have friends and neighbors that have voiced their vote….they want and need to go back to work. TRUST THE PEOPLE OF ALASKA. Thank you.

  • It is time to get to work. The essential v.s. non-essential is quite arbitrary. Social distancing is even a joke. Berkowitz has the homeless corralled in the Sullivan to sleep 6 feet apart while they gather in groups on the corners in the day, sipping from the same jug. Lets start opening up business, be smart and safe. I think people have the sense to know what to do at this stage of the game.

  • Three books come to mind at this time:


    Dmitry Orlov’s “The Five Stages of Collapse.

    Nassim Taleb’s “Anti-fragile”.


    The Holy Bible.


    If we don’t grasp that opening the coffee shop and restaurant isn’t going to get the economy moving again we don’t grasp economics. Production is the base of the economy, not the service sector fluff laying on top.

    • 70 percent of the U.S. economy was based on consumerism before the “plannedemic” took hold of the National media.
      Stopping consumers in a time of an economic downturn was just plain ignorant and short sighted.
      Americans know for themselves what is “normal”, government just needs to get out of their way.

      • Thank You Steve. I also endorse……..get out of the way!!!

        • I protested at the Loussac Library last week. The showing of brave men and women was so small and too easy to ignore. Even though the Assembly “asked” that people not attend, they literally locked people out of the chambers. 11 of the 13 callers opposed extending the mayor’s powers. The Assembly ignored all of them.

          Two doctors supported extending powers thru nov 15, but one openly admitted that the hospitals are ready…. and starting to lay off staff because of the lack of healthcare demand. Spoke out of both sides of his mouth with that…. Chris Constant openly stated that “if we do not extend to November 15, then there is no guarantee the city will get the $160 million in federal stimulus funds.”

          Now we see what the real concern is.

          Since the Muni doesn’t lose a dime by sinking our local economy, they still get to collect the full amount in property tax, and municipal auctions will allow the city to harvest our real property, there’s no risk to them! Missing out on free stimulus dollars, however, is a real problem. Better to keep the emergency going, eh?

      • Consumerism isn’t an economy as reality is soon to demonstrate.

    • A fourth book is strongly recommended to complete the collection:
      Art Chance’s “Red on Blue: Establishing Republican Governance”.
      Preaching to the choir’s okay for tent revivals, but when the winner has to figure out how government should work, instead of how it is working, this book is the instruction manual, the first place to start.

    • “Crisis and Leviathan” Robert Higgs

  • Very well said
    See u Wednesday ?

  • Gov. Dunleavy will not open the economy…He is on a power grab and will not let go.
    I wish I was wrong, but if he really wanted open Alaska he would just do it.

  • They don’t understand this virus except to know it’s unlike any we’ve ever seen before.

    • And your credentials are?

    • Science Magazine, is the peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and one of the world’s top academic journals. It was first published in 1880.

      • Simon,
        Research 60 mins episodes from 30 years ago.
        This is the same fear mongering campaign that we have seen since the swine flu in 1976.
        It is all just a push towards vaccines that are not proven to fight the flu.
        A healthy immune system can fight off these pathogens and that has been proven over and over again.

  • “With tens of thousands Alaskans in the private sector suddenly unemployed by those who still have jobs in the public sector”

    Well said.

  • “…please return our liberties so we can succeed”
    No American could have written this.
    Maybe it’s a typo… was meant to say something like “return our liberties or we take them back, Tea Party style”… no “please”, no sit-up-and-beg.
    Surely that’s it, Charlie, just a typo?

    • We need to get back to work yesterday. The government and its “help” is rarely the answer. At best, it’s a necessary evil. Most of the time it’s the problem. Since the Covid Panic began, far more people have probably died in Alaska or in the U.S. from auto accidents, despite the travel bans and hunker down orders, than have died from this virus. Should we ban driving and go back to only walking? Not to mention the fact that many of the people counted as Covid deaths actually died from something else that would have killed them soon. It’s very sad that Covid accelerated it and robbed them and their families of a few days/weeks/months but it doesn’t mean this is the plague.

    • Yes that was what glaring to out to me.
      We have the power of our freedom and liberty to use wisely ! What is stopping us ? We don’t have to say please either. GOD GIVEN RIGHTS !!
      SHEEPLE, LET YOURSELVES OUT OF THE CORRAL ! For the good of one and all. ?

  • I’m all for reopening businesses. In fact, I’m all for reopening with, or without, permission. People need to remember who they are. We don’t need permission. We are not children, we are not subjects, and we are not owned.

  • Test. Test. Test. Test us all. Where are the the tests? We now have a 15 minute test machine in our town of 2,500. But there are only 45 test kits? The vice president and his staff says there are enough tests for all of the states!. Dare I ask?….Just what state (of mind) is he in?….

    • They are testing a percentage. No way we can test the whole country.

  • I believe we need to rely on the science to tell us when to open.
    If we open prematurely and get closed down a second time a higher percentage will fail than if we open a week or two later.

    • There usually is a second wave months later. I guess the question is will they shut down the economy again?

  • We need to open the economy now.
    We need to learn to LIVE during a crisis not hide from it.
    Would we ever give our child this solution in any other problem. Just hide under the bed and it will go away? We traded one thing- Safety from exposure for another -giving up all our income and freedoms..

    I am essential to my God, to my family, and to the many people we help and to the business we provide for those who need it.

    Now we should not need to trade, or compromise to get them back. Wearing a mask does not protect the wearer from getting the virus. It only protects the wearer from giving it to another. Except if the person does not have the virus they cannot give it to someone else. I do not cough , sneeze or spit on people.

    Patrick Henry wrote: Give me liberty or give me death- America is founded on this motto. We must go about our lives completely and fully and overcome whatever we deal with.

    Gov. Dunleavy took the wrong path in C-19. He overstepped his authority to follow the lead of those who choose the same path.

  • We would be far better off if people took personal responsibility seriously in this. I haven’t been to the store in weeks but I’ve heard many have one way aisles with people disregarding them. If people took responsibility for themselves and their fellow Alaskans we would be better off and we wouldn’t have government mandates, unfortunately there are too many spoiled selfish individuals who don’t care about their fellow Alaskans and would sooner spit in their faces than walk down a one way aisle.
    If and when this virus mutates these current mandates won’t be enough to protect us, common sense and a sense of responsibility for those around you will help, but also won’t keep us secure. The more people who get this disease now the higher likelihood it will mutate. If and when the second wave hits it will be much more devastating. This is a marathon and not a sprint, we have done reasonably well in Alaska and we certainly can ease some restrictions, but going back where we were a few short months ago is premature.
    There are laws on the books that allow for these mandates, laws that have been on the books for well over 100 years and have passed the scrutiny of the Supreme Court…due process has been served.
    Slowly opening up our economy in a way that protects all of us is the right way to do this, opening up our state and allowing tourists and seasonal workers to run roughshod over us isn’t the answer. Even if we were to do that tourists and seasonal workers will not be coming in the numbers we are accustomed to, not even close.

    • I couldn’t agree more Steve-O.

    • Very true!

  • End the tyranny! End the hoax! Open the economy now! Prosecute the medical bureaucracy for their fake models! Fire Fauci, Fire Birx, and Fire Zink! Recall Dunleavy for his RINO/Marxist shutdown!

    • The real damage isn’t coming from the closure. It’s coming from 30 years of policies and financialzation that saw manufacturing outsourced to China. This kind of disruption is going to leave a bigger mark than the band-aid reopening a theater is going to provide.


      More service and banking sector won’t fix what it spent 30 years breaking.

  • Open.
    We stayed inside. We hid from the big bad germs so we could ratchet up our healthcare and the systematic response only to find out we didn’t need it. 9 have perished with pre-existing conditions while the remaining 723,000 residents (not to mention seasonal tourism and out-of-state slope employees) have suffered. We haven’t lost an Alaskan for 10 days. 48% of cases are recovered.
    Open for Business.

    • Where is the business coming from?


      Expecting the economy to resume is like you gluing leaves to a girdled tree.


      Go try and find a starter for a Sprinter 3500. Or an alternator for a F-150. Just wait until people realize that they aren’t going anywhere anyways.

      • I don’t know where that superfluous “you” came from. It should read “like gluing leaves to a girdled tree”.


        Not trying to make it personal. However I would like to see people asking questions about what they expect to see happen when the economy “opens”.

  • Please open the economy again. Many are suffering. Without a vaccine, the only real solution to this is for most people to resume their normal lives and those at higher risk, continue to take precautions such as self-isolating.

  • I think we’ve all watched the economy falter and expected that it may stumble. If 92% of our State’s revenue comes from the oil industry and crude was trading around $60 a barrel on Jan 1, what happens when it hits $1.50/bbl like WTI did this morning?

    Or worse yet… WTI is trading at negative numbers right now.

    When is it that we wake up the economy again?

    Now would be a good time to assess your position if you’ve been the kind of person that normally carries a good size debt.

  • This is what you get folks, for being comfortably numb and comfortably dumb … Social engineering… It’s been happening for decades actually centuries you can count religion in on it to…From long ago.
    We are all at an apex here. Truly. We can plunge off the cliff with the herd animal mentality that has not worked except for the handlers. Or step into our individual power and collectively create a new paradigm. We can not have it both ways…

  • Not true
    Read Ed King’s very detailed review of the political myths promulgated by incompetent legislators. Read the annual state audit. Oil is now far less than half of our income stream and the legislature has and continues to take state oil income that by law must be deposited into the corpus of the Perm Fund. Very close to $1 Billion a year yes illegally. Read the annual audits of the state. That is the truth not legislative propaganda.

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