UPDATE: Alaska Extends Restrictions on Intrastate Travel and Social Distancing

Legal Alert

COVID-19 Resource Hub

On April 9, Governor Dunleavy updated Health Mandate 11 on social distancing and Health Mandate 12 prohibiting in-state travel, to extend both restrictions through April 21.

On March 27, Governor Dunleavy took additional steps in response to the coronavirus pandemic by passing Alaska’s COVID-19 Health Mandate 11 (“Mandate 11”), ordering social distancing and Health Mandate 12 (“Mandate 12”), prohibiting in-state travel.

Mandate 12 went into effect March 28 at 8:00 am and was to be reevaluated by April 11. On April 9, the Governor extended Mandate 12 through April 21. Mandate 12 controls movement of individuals within the State by prohibiting non-critical interstate travel. Businesses qualifying as critical infrastructure must submit a travel plan or protocol for maintaining critical infrastructure. The plan should outline how the business will avoid the spread of COVID-19 and not endanger the lives of the communities in which the business operates. Businesses do not need to submit a plan “[i]f you have already submitted a plan pursuant to Health Mandate 10.1 related to interstate travel.” Additionally, Mandate 12 prohibits personal travel “except as necessary to meet critical personal needs or work in critical infrastructure jobs.” Individuals traveling to or from any community for critical reasons or critical personal travel are not subject to any automatic quarantine or isolation.

Mandate 11 went into effect March 28 at 5:00 pm and was to be reevaluated by April 11. On April 9, the Governor extended Mandate 11 through April 21. Mandate 11 restricts movement of individuals within the State of Alaska. All persons in Alaska, except for those engaged in essential health care services, public government services, and essential business activities, as defined in the Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order, are mandated to remain at their place of residence and maintain a distance of at least six feet from any individual with whom they do not reside.

This mandate increases the restrictions previously implemented by ordering individuals to work from home unless their job is classified as essential or critical and cease participation in public or private gathering with any number of individuals that are non-household members. All businesses within Alaska, except those qualifying as essential or critical, are required to cease all activities outside of Minimum Basic Operations. Minimum Basic Operations include activities to maintain inventory, security, payroll, and facilitate employees working from home. Businesses may continue to operate beyond Minimum Basic Operations if employees are working from home.

Violations of any state COVID-19 Health Mandate may subject businesses and individuals to civil or criminal penalties. Businesses in violation may be ordered to cease operations and/or receive a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation. Additionally, individuals or businesses that fail to follow any of the State’s health mandates may be criminally prosecuted for Reckless Endangerment pursuant to Alaska Statute 11.41.250. A conviction for Reckless Endangerment could result in an individual being sentenced to up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of $25,000 and a business may face a fine of up to $2,500,000. While state and local law enforcement may enforce the mandates, the COVID-19 Health Mandate FAQs issued along with Mandate 11 and Mandate 12 states that the focus is on education rather than enforcement. “Law enforcement officials will be responding to complaints and education the public” when they observe obvious violations.

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