Mat-Su Borough Mayor Vern Halter announced all official public meetings and nonessential services and facilities will be shut down for one month, as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
But at a press conference on Friday, Halter stopped short of calling for a borough-wide state of emergency.
The State of Alaska has declared an emergency, the city of Anchorage has declared an emergency, but the Mat-Su Borough does not intend on declaring one, he said. “But we view this as an emergency. And every step we’re going to take is to work on that emergency.”
Halter said the Assembly and other boards will not meet through the end of March, and the Brett Memorial Ice Arena, Government Peak Chalet, libraries, and public swimming pools will be closed starting Monday.
“What I want to say is, for the normal human being, for the normal active citizen in the Mat-Su Borough, you can feel fairly safe,” Halter said. “There’s groups like 70 and above, and I’m in that group. There’s elderly people like we noticed in Washington State, it attacks that group of people. So we want to prevent that spreading. So just do the simple things, like wash your hands, like everybody’s been telling you on Facebook and TV. And just social distancing.”
Borough Manager John Moosey said that all essential services will continue:
“All essential services will continue to be provided such as emergency services fire, road maintenance. Our landfill will be open. Also we will be doing water and wastewater treatment in Talkeetna. We have a plan to have borough staff continue working at this time. We want to provide government services we just don’t want to put you or our staff in harms way,” said Borough Manager John Moosey.