Mayor Berkowitz’ order says pot, liquor stores can stay open, but gun shops to close



Need a bouquet of flowers from your local florist? A new tube for your flat-tire bike? How about a new firearm or some ammo?

Get going now, Anchorage. You’re running out of time.

All businesses in Anchorage have been ordered closed on Sunday at 10 pm, except for those that Mayor Ethan Berkowitz of Anchorage has deemed critical. The order to remain closed lasts through March 31. That includes gun shops.

Small businesses will be hit the hardest during this closure. While a family florist’s merchandise will perish within a few days, the flower departments at Carrs and Fred Meyer, backed by major parent companies Safeway and Kroger, will continue to be open for business, because those flower shops are inside the grocery stores.

There are workarounds. Some small businesses are interpreting the rules by saying they do delivery and they’ll allow curbside pickup. You just cannot go in their small stores. They’ll continue to do business until the police come and shut them down.

Meanwhile, grocery stores in Anchorage are now packed to the gills as though it is Thanksgiving. Shoppers are more exposed to each other in grocery stores at this point than they would be at a flower shop.

Liquor stores are not specifically on the mayor’s list for critical businesses, but he mentions stores that sell “beverages” are considered essential, and so the liquor stores are sticking with that policy and will remain open.

Animal shelters are not included on the mayor’s list of exemptions; according to his list, they will close on Sunday night.

Critical businesses that may remain open include:

  1. Businesses providing any services or performing any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of”Critical Infrastructure,” including, but not limited to, the Port of Alaska, public works construction, construction of housing, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil production, roads and highways, trucking and shipping companies, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems;
  2. First responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, court personnel, and law enforcement personnel;
  3. Critical Government Functions, meaning all services needed to ensure the continuing operation ofthe government agencies and provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Federal and State of Alaska employees should follow direction of their employer regarding whether and where to report to work;
  4. Defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the U.S. government;
  5. Grocery stores, supermarkets, food banks, pot shops, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of food, beverages, or other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products, pet food and pet supplies). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, as well as stores that sell products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and operation of residences;
  6. Food cultivation, including fishing, hunting, farming, and livestock;
  7. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged, unsheltered, or otherwise vulnerable individuals;
  8. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  9. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, towing companies, and related facilities;
  10. Banks, mortgage companies, insurance companies, and related financial institutions;
  11. Hardware stores;
  12. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and operation ofresidences and critical businesses;
  13. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services;
  14. Educational institutions for purposes of facilitating distance learning;
  15. Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  16. Restaurants, bars, and breweries and other facilities that prepare and serve food and beverages, but only for delivery or carry out under the restrictions laid out in the Mayor’s Emergency Order E0-01;
  17. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
  18. Businesses that supply other critical businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
  19. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;
  20. Businesses that provide transportation services of passengers or goods, including the Alaska Railroad;
  21. Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;
  22. Hotels, residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  23. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  24. Childcare facilities, subject to new recommendations for increased hygiene and social distancing. Childcare facilities should be used only by those who need childcare to work at a critical job.

If business owners do not see their business category on the list, they may ask the mayor for an exemption.

Also beginning at 10 pm on Sunday, March 22, all residents of the Municipality of Anchorage must stay at home as much as possible, except to work in certain critical jobs, to get food and supplies, to receive or provide healthcare and to recreate outside without contacting others. 

On the limited occasions when individuals leave home, they should maintain a distance of at least six feet from anyone outside their household, the mayor ordered.

Although the gun sales are locked down in Anchorage as of Sunday night, Southcentral residents still may be able to find open gun stores in the Mat-Su Valley.


  1. Good God. There’s something wrong you. There is something absolutely wrong with you. Are you actually criticizing the closure of gun stores at a time like this? Closing gun stores at this time is clearly an action to prevent possibly panicky and paranoid persons from becoming dangerous. And of course you directed these people to go to the valley to purchase guns. What can you possibly be thinking? Where does all the Republican hate come from? You know what? I’m thinking you deliberately wrote this piece to generate tension in an already stressful situation between the left and right wings. I can just see all the right wing nutcases rising to the bait. But not I. Other than this response I’m not touching this. Jesus!

    • Good God. There’s something wrong with you!! There is something absolutely wrong with you!! How can you defend the closure of gun stores at a time like this?! Closing gun stores at this time is clearly an action induce panicky and paranoid persons to become dangerous, like you.

      A: The mayor does not have the sole authority to close anything. There is no law, nor clause in either the state or US constitution that grants a mayor this power.

      B: The fact that you can spew such a ridiculous amount of venom while asking “where does all the republican hate come from?” is laughable at best. Get psychiatric help. I think you are danger to yourself and others.

      C: The tension is coming from the left that insists it can trample all over any right they have decided isn’t necessary. You punch us in the nose and then have the audacity to claim we are starting the fight when we defend ourselves.

      D: You are sheep, a helpless little sheep. you will be food for the wolves. Unfortunately, you have mistaken the sheep dog for the wolves and are on here defending the wolves.

      • A: Municipal statute allowing the mayor to declare emergency measures when applicable. Please note that the Constitution only applies to Federal law, not municipal law. Same with the state constitution.
        B: “Spew venom?” “…all the republican hate…” Re-read your venomous, hate spewing comment and be careful you don’t bite your tail.
        C: I poke you in the chest, you say, “Don’t do that!” You say, “I felt threatened.”
        Keep the heater in the garage. Take a deep breath. We are all in this together.
        D: All we like sheep are gone astray. The wolves resemble the sheep dogs, and the sheep dogs resemble the wolves. Are YOU the chosen one to tell us which is which?

        • “Please note that the Constitution only applies to Federal law, not municipal law. Same with the state constitution”

          Neither Intelligent life form nor Constitutional scholar are you?

    • Yeah, it’s messed up. Everyone knows you need a gun to keep people from stealing your dope.If you are shopping, the gun keeps you from shopping for folks that would steal it from you. But yes, you fell for it. It was directed just for you. Sucka!

    • Liberals will use any and all excuses they can to infringe on the 2nd Amendment. I, for one, will not lock down or isolate myself. I will continue to go to work and to hell with the 6-ft rule.

    • Your illogical rant is so asinine, it made me feel the need to reply. First of all, not all gun owners are Republicans. Second, I would argue what I read said nothing specific about gun stores closing. In fact it said stores that provide for hunting as well as stores that sell products necessary to maintaining the safety of residences. One could interpret that as gun stores. Third have you even met a Republican? To say in a blanket statement that all Republicans are hateful is just as stupid as saying all Democrats are smart, as obviously you have just proved the opposite. As a Libertarian, I see more hate coming from the left than the right.

      • The article specifically stated the closing of gun shops – twice. Maybe you should find some evening classes in remedial reading, you illiterate imbecile. I said I would not respond to the right wing nut cases, but your response was so “asinine” I felt compelled to reply. Just out of curiosity, did you even finish high school? Christ!

        • I think the main point is that Anchorage should NOT have a “stay in place” order right now. Places like NYC, LA, and Seattle should.
          We have fewer than 10 cases now in Anchorage, and from what I’ve read in the papers not one is in a hospital. Elective surgeries are cancelled. Our system isn’t close to being taxed (yet). Social distancing and following other Federal and State recommendations are working and will work if we remain diligent.
          Imposing millions of dollars in costs – mainly to low wage Anchorage workers and small business owners – is a great complement to crushing oil prices and foolish state spending cuts.
          Also, consider that repeatedly blaspheming God’s name isn’t conducive to civil discourse or your own happiness.

      • Well said, James. Facts don’t matter to the Political Left. If they did, we wouldn’t have, “gun free zones”. Anyone with two brain cells touching knows that criminals don’t care about rules, regulations, laws and silly signs.

    • 6. Food cultivation, including fishing, hunting, farming, and livestock;

      This would allow gun shops to remain open as they supply ammo and firearms for hunting. Also this is exactly the time people should be armed and prepared to defend themselves. First responders are stretched thin. That does not mean play vigilante. But have a gun and know how to use it for your own protection.

    • There’s something wrong with a lot of us, then. How dare we raise a concern about an edict that says for the next 10 days in the city of Anchorage, citizens won’t be able to buy ammunition, according to this ruling. I disagree that farming and hunting referred to on Mini Ethan’s exemption list includes retail stores. He should clarify that. And yet, you seem to agree with his edict. And oddly, you start out with “Good God,” and you end with Jesus. I don’t suppose you really mean those terms in a respectful sense, as in respecting the beliefs of those who worship God and follow his Son Jesus. No more than you appear to respect the Second Amendment. This is why we have the First AND the Second Amendment, sir.

      • Wow! That is so profound! I’ll bet everyone can see the intellect just beaming off your pointed head. As for your religious comments, nothing terrifies me more than organized religion, which you are so evidently a member of. I can see you now sitting there with big glassy eyes like someone who has just tossed down about 7 whiskey highballs. Hey! Let’s pray, brother! Prosecution rests. You can hurl the last insult.

        • John, you speak I’ll of organized religion, but you fail to see the error in your ways as you worship government. If only someone would have managed to get you to read the good book from cover-to-cover a couple times, you might understand God’s word and His plan. It’s the greatest gift ever given…

      • When you speak on principal, use facts and stand for the truth, you should use your full name. I’d like to shake your hand and buy you a drink, but I don’t know who you are. Thank you for speaking out. We need to stand strong against the lunacy of the Political Left. III%

    • The only ‘hate’ that I see in the article or the comments is, ironically, coming from you and your hysterical comments.
      The right to defend oneself and family is not just an American right, it is the most basic of human rights.

    • So, I don’t like “panic buying”, including firearms. Yet, the 2nd Amendment trumps the Mayor. Now, this is going on in other socialist/communist cities controlled by socialist/communists like this Mayor. The owner of USCCA was on Tucker the other day and like him, for those buying that never have owned a firearm, they need to go on-line and get at least basic training on firearms safety. USCCA has an excellent site with training videos that will give the first time owner that is concerned with their safety at least good information.
      As to my fellow Americans/Alaskans, by all means, come to the valley if you have a strong need to purchase a firearm.

    • The only ones being protected by the gun stores closing early, and stricter gun laws are the criminals who already have firearms, who will acquire them without background checks anyway. Would you please take your californiacated rhetoric elsewhere.
      I’ll keep my firearms, my safety, and I’ll keep my other Rights as well thank you.

  2. Thank you for getting this info out, hopefully it will calm the madness and greed……now, can you spare a square?……

  3. Number 6 should allow them to stay open. Food cultivation which included hunting. Unless you’re a bow hunter, you can’t hunt without a gun and ammo.

  4. Let’s keep Pot and Alcohol stores open. Smoking is a known to lower your survival rate vs Covid 19, thus impacting hospitals. Alchohol is known to bring down your immune system. Let’s close the gun stores. Idiots.

    • Progressive Communists don’t care about facts. It’s all about their evil agenda and they’ll take a win by any means necessary. They’ve managed to divide America in and by every measurable way possible.

  5. The Mayor’s edict includes virtually no supporting evidence. Accordingly, if challenged, it would be found to be an invalid exercise of government power. As a former lawyer, assuming he was paying attention in the relevant courses, the Mayor would know this. In particular, the close connection between firearm sales and the Second Amendment would require a reviewing court to take a close look at the decree. To sum up for the Mayor: This turkey doesn’t fly.

      • Forgive me if I miss-understood your position but what about, “shall not be infringed” do you not understand?! There’s an amendment process if you, or anyone else would like to change or abolish the Second Amendment.

        • Brian, I think you may have misunderstood. I didn’t take a position, I just pointed out a possible infringement problem and a contradiction. – sd

      • Your donate button does not work using mobile Chrome 80.0 , Android 9.. Window opens when clicking on amount and opens, crashes.

    • The list in the story is the official list, Danny, with one exception: The mayor used the phrase “marijuana dispensaries,” and we do not have those in Anchorage. We have pot shops, so that was something I felt compelled to correct because it was an apparent sanitization of his major base of support. Other than that, it’s the list he has at, a public document that you can see. Thank you for your note. – sd

  6. “If business owners do not see their business category on the list, they may ask the mayor for an exemption.”
    Mayor Ethan Berkowitz doesn’t have the constitutional nor administrative power to order anything closed if it hasn’t run afoul of state or federal law or regulations. Business owners who wish to stay open don’t need to ask permission.
    That anyone is complying with Berkowitz’s “order” is merely due to the fact that he is taking credit for what everyone deems reasonable and were going to do anyway. In other words, he first figured out what everyone thought would be the best course of action, then issued the order to do so.
    His “order” merely leveled the playing field so no business had to worry that their competitors would stay open and gain an advantage over them.
    I remember the story of an old Indian chief who remained chief for many years by doing the very same thing.

  7. In some towns emergency powers gives the mayor the right to seize private property. Does anyone know the extent of the mayors emergency powers?

    • 3.80.060 – Imposition of orders and regulations during period of emergency.
      The mayor may impose by proclamation any or all of the following orders and regulations necessary to prevent disorder and to preserve the public health of the municipality. The mayor shall have authority to:

      A. Impose a curfew upon all or any portion of the municipality thereby requiring all persons in such designated and restricted curfew areas to remove themselves from the public property, streets, alleys, sidewalks, thoroughfares, vehicle parking areas or other public places, except that physicians, nurses and ambulance operators performing essential medical services, utility personnel maintaining essential public services, firefighters, members of the news media upon showing of authorized press cards, and municipal authorized law enforcement officers and personnel may be exempted from such curfew. The curfew may be applicable to any such hours of the day or night as the mayor deems necessary in the interests of the public safety and welfare. B. Order the closing of the following business establishments anywhere within the municipality for the period of the emergency: 1. Any or all retail establishments or premises selling intoxicating liquor. 2. Any or all alcoholic beverage dispensary establishments or premises, or portions of private clubs wherein the consumption of intoxicating liquor is permitted. 3. Any or all gasoline stations and other establishments, the chief activity of which is the sale or distribution of liquid flammable or combustible products. 4. Any or all establishments or portions thereof the chief activity of which is the sale, distribution, dispensing or giving away of firearms, explosives or ammunition. 5. Any place of assembly where a mob or crowd may gather and where the mob or crowd cannot be adequately controlled by law enforcement officers. 6. Any other business establishment or portions thereof the chief activity of which is the sale or distribution of dangerous or hazardous products. C. Prohibit any or all of the following activities anywhere in the municipality for the period of emergency: 1. Selling, distributing or giving away gasoline or other liquid flammable or combustible products in any container other than a gasoline tank properly affixed to a motor vehicle. 2. Selling, distributing, dispensing or giving away any firearms, explosives or ammunition of any character whatsoever. D. Designate any public property, streets, alleys, sidewalks, thoroughfares, vehicle parking areas or any vacant premises closed to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, except as required for physicians, nurses and ambulance operators performing medical services, utility personnel maintaining essential public services, members of the news media upon showing authorized press cards, firefighters and municipal authorized law enforcement officers and personnel, who may be exempted from the designation. E. Call up regular and auxiliary law enforcement agencies and organizations within or without the municipality to assist in preserving and keeping the peace within the municipality. F. Make use of all available resources of the municipal government, including municipal personnel, as may be reasonably necessary to cope with an emergency. The mayor may transfer or alter the function of municipal departments, agencies or personnel for the purpose of performing or facilitating performance of emergency services. G. Evacuate persons from any designated area. H. Issue such other orders or regulations immediately necessary for the protection of life and property.
      (CAC 2.08.060; AO No. 79-153)

      State Law reference— Emergency powers, AS 26.23.190; limitations on declaring local disaster emergencies, AS 26.23.200; interference with dissemination of news or public affairs information, AS 26.23.200(2).

      3.80.070 – Unlawful acts during period of emergency.
      During the period of emergency declared by the mayor by proclamation, it is unlawful for any person to:

      A. Consume any alcoholic beverages while upon any public property, street, alley, sidewalk, thoroughfare, vehicle parking area or vacant premises, or in any motor vehicle driven or parked thereon, which is within a restricted area designated in the proclamation. B. Carry or possess any rock, bottle, club, brick or weapon, or any other missile or projectile, within a restricted area designated in the proclamation, with the intention of using any of the objects unlawfully against the person or property of another, except as carried or possessed by law enforcement officers or other designated personnel. C. Make, carry, possess or use any type of gasoline or petroleum base firebomb, explosive, Molotov cocktail or other incendiary missile. D. Possess flammable, explosive or combustible material with the intent to willfully and maliciously use such materials to set fire to or otherwise damage buildings or property. E. Enter any area designated by the mayor as a restricted area in the proclamation, except as to a person entering the restricted area in the performance of official duties, or with written permission from the municipality, or with proof of residence within the restricted area.
      (CAC 2.08.070)
      Now I know.

  8. If you have been gun-free all your life until now then maybe not arming yourself is in your best interest. As a Retired US Army officer and 50 plus year life member of the NRA, like-minded people like me have your little whining- ass covered. Go home and have some hot chocolate and watch Masterpiece Theater on your TV. Just saying. The men and strong women will help you out of your mental morass.

    • Well said Mike.

      I propose we put Comrade Ethan and all anti-gun people on all of the empty cruise ships, send them to a gun-free island…Then they can all live happily ever after.?

      US Air Force veteran

  9. There was some sort of a run on firearms / ammo last week. Sportsman’s Warehouse had a daily purchase limit on firearms and various forms of ammo, though the shelves were full.

    Just e-mailed the Mayor and Assembly asking for them to add an exemption to the order. When and if they refuse, we will have something to talk about.

    Most (all?) of us have our ballots for the Muni election in hand by now. If you like how he is dealing with this, vote to return his incumbent Assembly back to office. If you think he needs some adult guidance, vote for the challengers. Don’t forget that we have an election underway.

    Final observation: Most of us on the political right did all our firearms purchasing, training, and stocking up during the O’Bama years when the threat against firearms ownership was very real. The new guys appear to be either zombie apocalypse fans or lefties who just now saw the light. Eventually, they will figure that they need some sort of training with proper use of the new tools. Cheers –

    • There are plenty of us on the right that have been filling out our stables, Alec. That said, the training part is essential.

  10. The author and most of the other commentators need to re-read the EO. There is a sentence in Section 5, Paragraph E that I interpret as allowing gun shops to remain open.

    – This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, as well as stores that sell products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and operation of residences;

    Maintaining the safety….. That to me is the means to keeping my family and our property and any guests we may have safe. That means stores that sell those means (guns and ammo) can remain open.

    Wake up and use the reading comprehension skills you learned in grade school. To the articles author, shame on you for trying to scare people.

  11. So Suzanne, what is the result of a firearms dealer store stays open? I would encourage disobedience by the dealers.

    • Mike, since the mayor has specifically exempted pot stores, but not specifically exempted firearms stores, it’s difficult to say what enforcement he would take. These stores are highly regulated and do not want to get in trouble with the government. I’m sure the mayor will address this soon and clarify it. – sd

      • The big issue is if the NCIS checks are available. Of course that is all computer or phone. Under the law, if no answer in 3 days the sell is good to go. There is some “concern” about that in this case. Heard on OANN that the FBI is saying something about day 1 doesn’t count.
        If I was a dealer, I’d disobey the Mayor, cause I’d be following Federal laws.

  12. I’m surprised that like in the PDRK closing firearms stores and keeping open elective abortion/Planned Parenthood offices!

    • At least no 10 day waiting (cooling off !!???!!!??) period up here that so many loyal citizens of the PDRK are now finding out about. The first responsibility of bureaucratic governments (repeating myself) is the preservation of the integrity of the government.. or rather not so much of governmental function as their personal safety within a protective shield. With the Rodney King Loot-Scoot-n-Shoot I and II riots the admins directed that police make overly sure Parker Center was secure… KoreaTown… not so much. The upside was that the Korean shopowners were prepared…at roof top level. How many times do we have to go through these real life “drills” of near misses before one learns to forego that $300 pair of Nike Air Jordans or whatever and stash away ammo and the like (TP etc) so that the government can’t pull your chain?

      • Yep, agreed. I watch a documentary on the Rodney King LA riots. Even have video of the Korean businessmen shooting at the punks!
        If memory is right, they were not convicted.

  13. Surrender your most basic rights willingly now and when the “crisis” is over you’ll need to fight to get any of them back. Therefore the firearms closing. Power-crazed politicians what that fight, when it comes, to be one-sided.

  14. Ugh. People, social shaming is WAAAY more powerful than any emergency declaration or anything of the sort. The norm now is to be closed while this thing blows over. Get out of the house i.e. box.

  15. I’m not sure the Mayor has the right to say which businesses are open or closed. This should come from the Governor (I have not found if Dunleavy ordered this or not). I’ve read thru all the comments here and believe some are referencing this issue, in a back handed way.

    • A friend mentioned to me that the MOA ordinances grant the mayor authority, but does the MOA have the power to do so?

  16. This is wrong. Our mayor is treating us like the Germans treated their minority population in the 1930s. Mercy!

    • That was an informative article. I advise you to remember the content and postpone this debate.

      Wake up call from New Orleans.

      We were talking like you two weeks ago.

      Be practical. You KNOW how the virus spreads. Communities have to act fast. Don’t expect perfection. Make concessions. This is an emergency. You won’t be worried about your rights.

      You will be afraid.

      People i know are dying. If the numbers explode in your area, hospitals may be too full to treat other Alaska emergencies like strokes, asthma, appendicitis, sled crashes, frostbite, and evidently–gunshot wounds. Stop arguing about whose right it is to do what and think about what makes sense.

      And remember, your gun stores can STILL stay open. It’s everybody’s right to disobey the law. Do whatever you want! You can gather in big groups! Refuse to wash your hands! After all, it’s your life isnt it? You have the right to risk it.
      But if you ARE determined to risk your own life, we’ve got about 50 USEFUL ways you can do it here or in New York. Alaskans are rugged, and y’all can make things happen in extremis.
      Pick up the debate after the body count.

      Seriously guys… get ready. I hope you are spared the worst.

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