While business restrictions made at the state level will be nearly completely lifted on Friday, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz isn’t so sure he’s ready to let businesses operate at full capacity:
“We make decisions on whether to advance to the next phase of reopening by evaluating the health metrics identified in the Roadmap to Reopening plan. If these metrics remain steady or show improvement by the end of the week, we anticipate being able to move forward to Phase 3: “Maintenance,” starting next week. Emergency Order EO-09 will remain in effect until modified,” Berkowitz said.
“As the Governor directly acknowledged, local communities are permitted to have stricter health restrictions tailored to their specific needs. Phase 3 requirements allow businesses to operate with fewer restrictions, and with the expectation to follow updated criteria for physical distancing and proper hygiene. Keeping these rules in place will give consumers more confidence that reopening is happening safely,” the mayor said, calling it a “slow and steady” strategy.
The mayor said he may have more to share in an announcement on Friday. Berkowitz has taken a heavy-handed approach, in late March announcing severe penalties for businesses that were found to be operating while under orders to be closed. He threatened $1,000 fines and possible criminal charges, and sent inspectors around the city to put stop-work orders on businesses and fine them $1,000.
In general, he has lagged several days behind the Dunleavy Administration’s transition to an open economy. If businesses in Anchorage proceed under the governor’s “open up” announcement on Friday, they may run afoul of Berkowitz and his inspectors.
No cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the last 24 hours in the state, and there are just 36 active cases in the state, according to the state’s dashboard.