Restaurants react to latest emergency order as the second day of ‘four-week reset’ closes

Due to high demand, Kriner's Diner closed early on Tuesday to begin restocking and prepping...
Due to high demand, Kriner's Diner closed early on Tuesday to begin restocking and prepping food for Wednesday.(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 7:45 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As Anchorage entered the second day of its “four-week reset” Tuesday, restaurant owners took different approaches to deal with the emergency order that requires them to close indoor dining.

At Kriner’s Diner in Midtown, the restaurant continued serving customers indoors, even after the Municipality issued a Stop Work Order.

The restaurant’s owner, Andy Kriner, said that he spoke with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz on Tuesday.

“He’s just looking for common ground. There’s not much there. He has a job to do. I want to run my restaurant,” Kriner said.

Kriner said he expects to be fined for staying open, but many residents have supported the restaurant with some offering to pay the fines it receives.

Across the municipality, other restaurant owners are taking a different approach to the emergency order.

Lee Ellis, president of Midnight Sun Brewing Company said he met with city officials Tuesday and hopes to find solutions to allow businesses closed by the order to stay in business and pay their employees. Ellis says he hopes some of the CARES Act funding the Muni received can be directed toward businesses forced to reduce their operations while continue operating at a greater capacity.

In Girdwood, the owners of Jack Sprat are also weighing their options as to the best path forward.

“These last emergency orders with reducing the space inside, and now closing the indoor dining is going to cause us to reduce our hours and lay some of our staff off,” Frans Weitz, co-owner of Jack Sprat, said. “So we’re fighting for them, and we feel like if the mayor wants to continue these orders through August and indefinitely, we’d like compensation so we can continue to pay our employees and keep our business afloat, or we’re considering litigation.”

The Mayor’s office said the majority of restaurants are complying with the requirements of emergency order 15, but businesses that are in violation will be issued a Stop Work Order and then fined on a daily basis. Businesses in violation within the municipality could also lose their ability to access stimulus or relief funds.

“Flagrant violations of Emergency Orders needlessly increase the public health risk to employees and customers, and divert public resources from the more pressing needs of the community,” the Mayor’s Office said in a statement.

Businesses that violated the order could also be subject to “legal consequences” or citations.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Mayor’s Office.

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