COVID-19: Emergency Travel Order to be loosened
In a special Common Council meeting on Tuesday, May 19 the Council mulled the parameters of an emergency order to control travel to or through Nome. As council members met, the Governor announced fully opening Alaska to business again, starting Friday morning, with interstate travel restrictions still in place and the requirement of a two-week quarantine.
Council members discussed what form the so-called travel permit should take in the near future.
First, it’s no longer considered a “permit” and city staff was tasked after a nearly three-hour long discussion to revamp the form.
The council was unanimous in the opinion that the form should only serve to establish the category of traveler - i.e. interstate, intrastate, returning Nome resident, essential worker or a critical needs traveler. Depending on the category, the form then is to be designed to educate the traveler whether he needs to quarantine for 14 days (travelers from out of state) or if they agree to testing upon arrival and seven days later, which would cut down their time in quarantine to a week.
Acting Mayor Jerald Brown explained that quarantine does not mean being not allowed out of the house - people can go outside for a walk, practicing social distancing - but are not supposed to go crowded places like bars, restaurants or grocery stores.
The Council tasked staff to redesign the travel form and to clarify some language on the emergency order addressing the travel in and through Nome that was signed into effect on May 19.
The Council meets on Tuesday, May 26 again to address the travel issue and to amend, revoke or ratify the current order.