Alaska State Capitol mask mandate rescinded, but building remains closed to the public

The Legislative Council meets to rescind the mask mandate in the Alaska State Capitol building...
The Legislative Council meets to rescind the mask mandate in the Alaska State Capitol building on Friday afternoon.(KTUU)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 3:06 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska State Capitol mask mandate was rescinded Friday afternoon, one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance that people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 do not need to wear masks indoors in most settings.

The Legislature has kept a few exceptions for masking. Individual legislators can issue mask mandates in their own offices and masks may also be required in legislative information offices across the state, depending on COVID-19 numbers in those communities.

The Capitol building itself will remain closed to the public as it has been for over a year. Testing will be recommended for legislators and staff entering the building in a few circumstances, including if someone is unvaccinated for COVID-19 or if they return to Juneau after traveling, particularly to communities with high virus transmission rates.

The policy change was adopted unanimously by the Legislative Council, a committee that represents the Legislature as a whole, to cheers and sighs of relief.

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said before the vote that the Capitol’s COVID-19 policies had worked, shown by the low case numbers in the building.

Dillingham independent Rep. Bryce Edgmon urged some caution, saying Friday’s announcement should not be treated as a “victory lap” and that legislators should remember that the pandemic is still not over.

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