Mayor Ethan Berkowitz of Anchorage has a plan: Anchorage will stay hunkered down until his conditions are met:
Before anything more can open up in the commercial world, there would need to be 14 days of a decline in the coronavirus case count in Anchorage. Berkowitz’ plan demands that “widespread” testing is available in Anchorage, although he is not specific about what the criteria is for “widespread.” He says the hospitals must have enough intensive care unit beds to meet the capacity if there’s a surge in cases of COVID-19.
Further, Berkowitz will keep the city locked down until he is sure that positive COVID-19 cases are identified and all of those person’s contacts are being monitored. Anyone with symptoms would need to be tested within 24 hours.
If those conditions cannot be met, Anchorage citizens will remain ordered to stay their homes, as they currently are, and only to leave for occasions such as fresh-air walks and groceries. Only “essential workers” should be out and about in town. The current status of Anchorage is laid out in the mayor’s chart:
To get to the first phase of reopening Anchorage, Phase One, things have to be clearly on the mend. If so, in 14 days Berkowitz would allow “low-risk” businesses, with strict physical distancing regulations in place, to open. A few restaurants may open if the staff wears masks and cleans well. Some personal service care would start up again, and some “non-public-facing” businesses could open, with the requirement that all employees wear face coverings and limit the size of gatherings.
Also, in this phase, some non-emergency or non-urgent medical procedures could proceed in Anchorage, although the governor has already released that health mandate and the mayor’s mandate is in conflict with the governor on this topic.
Also, in Phase One, low-risk outdoor recreation activities are allowed. Golf, perhaps, but not basketball. People might be able to play tennis, but not rugby.
Limited travel would be allowed, but no gatherings of more than 20 people, and Anchorage would not be able to move out of Phase One lockdown for nearly another month. Cases would have to be trending downward for a full 28 days. Here’s what Berkowitz envisions for Phase One:
With the first 14 days and the next 28 days, Anchorage will remain in a partial paralysis for 42 days under the Berkowitz Plan.
If everyone behaves, the city can graduate to Phase Two. This is when sports and recreation can be allowed if physical distancing is followed. Health services would resume normal operations, although once again, the governor has already allowed doctors to see patients, and it’s doubtful Berkowitz can interfere with the medical community.
At some point, Berkowitz would allow the city to move into Phase Three and Phase Four, some semblance of normalcy, when schools may reopen and there is no restriction on domestic travel. Phase Three is when widespread community transmission is no longer present in Anchorage:
Between Sunday and Monday there was one case of coronavirus in Anchorage, and the Berkowitz lockdown appears to remain in place. Economists predict that 75 percent of family-owned businesses will not reopen their doors at the end of the pandemic lockdown, and that bankruptcies will spike.