The mayor of Anchorage has been warning people to stay away from crowds. But now, he’s naming names — of bars where people have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
In a list issued today, he not only names Anchorage bars, but even goes so far as to sweep in Seward and Palmer watering holes, expanding his jurisdiction, as it were, to other municipalities in the state.
What’s fascinating about the Berkowitz Bar Shaming Initiative is that far more people visit grocery stores, gyms, pot shops, and the Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport every day than visit bars.
And restaurants are also open for service, but none of those categories of businesses are included in the list of where people may have come into contact with the coronavirus. Just liquor establishments.
Some critics are theorizing that Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is preparing to shut down bars again. This week, his medical officer said that people working in bars are at risk.
“I have great concern of people who work n the bars,” said Dr. Bruce Chandler. “They are really working in the danger zone, with people singing, dancing, lots of respiratory droplets.”
The bar shaming list was issued by the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management, which lists the Anchorage Moose Lodge as the place where over a period of five days, a person who was COVID-19 positive had visited eight times. But the Panhandle Bar and JJ’s Lounge were also hot spots, as it were.
Since the mayor’s mask mandate went into effect in Anchorage, the cases of COVID-19 have continued to climb. Berkowitz said earlier this week that enforcement could include civil penalties, criminal charges, and business closures if businesses did not comply with the mask mandate.
Anchorage has had over 541 cases of the virus reported, and seven of the state’s 15 deaths from COVID-19 have been Anchorage residents.