As cases spike in bars and restaurants, CHARR releases new best practices

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 1:49 PM AKDT
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It's a joint effort by the city of Anchorage and hospitality industry, to reduce the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases associated with these high-risk settings.

During Tuesday's news briefing, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz was joined by the CEO and President of CHARR Sarah Oates.

The Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association is one of several business organizations working with the city to make sure there is not another shutdown due to a rise in COVID-19 cases connected to the industry.

It's an effort to help the local economy, while also keeping employees, customers, and those they may come in contact with, safe.

Oates is calling on businesses to self-limit capacity and expand outdoor or additional spaces in an effort to increase safe distancing.

She also suggested eliminating live music and dancing, to consider closing earlier and being adamant about not admitting anyone who is not wearing a face covering.

These prevention tips are being strongly recommended by the industry, and the city, after municipal health officials reported a significant increase in cases, in what they referred to as, high-risk settings.

According to Anchorage Health Department Director, Natasha Pineda, not only are there more cases reported that are associated with bars and other large gatherings, but there are also reports of a big increase in each person's contacts.

For example, previously someone who tested positive would report an average of three to five contacts.

After these gatherings, those reports are now up to 30 to 50 contacts, and in some cases, up to 100 interactions.

According to Pineda, between June 20- 29, that rise in cases was associated with large group gatherings including bars, restaurants, tourism and even a strip club.

In each case, Pineda says the person was not, " wearing masks and not adhering to social distancing."

Both the industry and the mayor expressed appreciation for the ongoing collaboration, as a way to not only improve safety but to also improve the economic outlook for local businesses.

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