Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson has told Assemblywoman Jamie Allard of Eagle River that Allard is, in no uncertain terms, not welcome at a Tuesday meeting the mayor has scheduled with restaurant owners to discuss when and how they might reopen to dining at 50 percent capacity.
That, after Assemblywoman Allard filed a resolution last week to take up removing the mayor’s emergency order that shuttered restaurants in December. That resolution is on the Assembly agenda for Tuesday night.
Allard is part of a group of citizens that is trying to open the Anchorage economy back up before all restaurants and small businesses are destroyed beyond repair.
“Thank you for reaching out to our office; however, the administration feels it is unnecessary for you to attend this meeting,” was the response Allard received from the mayor, after getting word of the meeting that had been scheduled with a group of restaurant owners.
On Sunday, one day after a shopping rebellion took place in Anchorage, the mayor sent a note to some restaurant owners:
“I’m writing to let you know about some of the collaborative work we’ve been doing with the hospitality industry. It occurred to me that while we are in regular contact – through meetings, emails, texts, and calls throughout the week – it would likely be helpful for you to receive a brief update on that work.
“We have a standing meeting as a larger group. These meetings are a place to talk through challenges and explore new ideas. I find them to be extremely productive. In those meetings and in individual meetings, we have discussed a number of ideas that we could fold into a reopening of indoor dining – the North Star plan; a plan from Mesa, CO; and ideas relating to improved ventilation, to name a few. Muni staff have worked with restaurant owners and engineers to understand ventilation challenges and opportunities (made even more interesting in the cold weather), and the Health Department has been exploring a number of ideas as well. Of course we know that the risk for businesses where folks from different households are indoors together with masks off won’t ever completely go away, but we want our restaurants to have the best shot at low transmission rates and the earliest reopening to indoor dining that is possible.
“One of our regular meetings is coming up on Tuesday morning, and we plan to discuss how best to move toward reopening with this group at that time. I will include an update on this meeting in my Mayor’s report at your Tuesday evening meeting.
“Dr. Johnston will also provide a brief update at Tuesday’s Assembly meeting (during my report) and be available for questions.”
But this is evidently not a public meeting, as the acting mayor is preventing elected Assembly members from attending.
The North Star plan draft is attached here.