Gov. Dunleavy issues new state emergency declaration for COVID-19

(Office of the Governor)
Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 10:17 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued the state’s third emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday in part to aid in the state’s vaccine distribution.

The declaration goes into effect at 12 a.m. Wednesday and expires Jan. 15, 2021. With it, Dunleavy announced the renewal of all existing health orders from the previous emergency declaration.

The previous declaration, which expires Tuesday at midnight, would need to have been extended by the state legislature. When the first declaration was set to expire, they were unable to muster the votes to call itself into a special session. Dunleavy also has the power to call a special session, but has declined to do so, citing health concerns over calling legislators from around the state to Juneau. Instead, Dunleavy has issued two new orders as the old ones expire.

“If the legislature were to meet and act on the emergency, then that would be an issue, and that would be a decision that they make,” he said at a press conference Tuesday. “But at this time, we felt it was prudent to extend this, so that we can make sure that we have the ability to, once again, roll out this vaccination plan.”

With the first vaccinations in the state already being distributed, Dunleavy said the state could see a “little light at the end of the tunnel” Tuesday, but he encouraged Alaskans to support each other through the spring and summer as the vaccinations continue.

For the holidays, he said the state continues to recommend distancing, but he also recommended, for those who can, to make their Christmas this year one with an emphasis on giving.

“I’d ask all Alaskans to do your best over the next several weeks, not just take care of your own health, but to look out for others,” he said.

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