Negative COVID-19 test no longer required to enter Alaska

A border patrol officer checks vehicles entering Canada at the Peace Arch Canada/U.S. border in Surrey, B.C. Alaska will no longer require travellers to have a negative COVID-19 test when arriving in the state, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Sunday when outlining plans for the state to transition into a recovery phase. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
Alaska has had 54,282 total resident cases of the virus, and 280 Alaskans have died

Alaska will no longer require travellers to have a negative COVID-19 test when arriving in the state, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Sunday when outlining plans for the state to transition into a recovery phase.

The announcement came after the state’s emergency declaration expired Sunday.

Dunleavy ordered his commissioners and state employees to continue following the policies that were in place under the
declaration. However, officials will spend the next several weeks reviewing which policies are still needed.

“My administration will begin moving Alaska, its economy and our lives forward through this transition and recovery process,” Dunleavy said in a statement. “Make no mistake about it, the virus may be with us for some time. But the data shows that the worst is most likely behind us.”

“Alaska is doing pretty good”

Alaska has had 54,282 total resident cases of the virus, and 280 Alaskans have died. The state, which has a population of about 728,000, has given 175,135 vaccine doses.

“No matter what metrics you look at, Alaska is doing pretty good, probably better than most states,” Dunleavy said at a news conference.

“And so this gives us the confidence that as we move forward, we’re going to continue to manage this virus as well or better than most other locales.”

The state issued several new health advisories Sunday, including removing the need for a negative test for travellers.

However, Dunleavy said travellers can still get tests when they arrive at airports in the state, if they wish, for the next few months. These tests will not be free of charge, the Republican governor said.

Previously, non-Alaska residents were charged $250 for the tests.

Anchorage mask mandate still in place

Another advisory continues to encourage Alaskans to wear masks and physical distance. Alaska has never had a statewide mask mandate.

Dunleavy’s orders do not affect rules put in place by municipalities, such as Anchorage. The state’s largest city has a mask mandate in place.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic Tourism & the Pandemic podcast, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: How not to promote Arctic tourism, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland’s ‘COVID-19 passport’ offers preview of debate over post-vaccine travel, CBC News

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: All Russia’s North Pole cruises rescheduled to 2021, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Summer tourism recovery is slow going in Sweden, Yle News

United States: Airline shutdown creates new challenges for rural Alaska, The Associated Press

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