Travel Quarantine update #3: Good news/Bad news

In Uncategorized by scott

Travelers will see these signs to guide them to screening stations. This is at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

New guidance from Alaska’s public health officials means changes to the existing 14-day quarantine mandate for arriving visitors to Alaska.

Public health officials are trying to allow visitors to come to Alaska–but travelers must get tested and have results in-hand before boarding the plane. Otherwise, tests may be available on arrival (subject to availability).

I’ve trimmed down the verbiage. CLICK HERE for the TL;DR

BAD NEWS: The 14-day quarantine requirement for arriving visitors to Alaska remains in force. You must self-isolate for 14 days after arriving.

GOOD NEWS: You can avoid the quarantine only if you bring printed proof of a negative COVID-19 test (nasal swab) taken no more than 72 hours prior to travel. SPECIFICALLY, you must locate a testing facility and get a test + results (printed or digital) before you board the plane.

UPDATE– MORE BAD NEWS: Even if you have the test within 72 hours, you still must “minimize contact with other people” until you’ve been tested AGAIN 7-14 days after your arrival.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I spoke with Kate Vogel, the Municipality of Anchorage’s attorney, who spelled it out: Those travelers in the “minimize contact” phase may NOT dine-in at a restaurant, go to a museum or work out in a gym. Go outdoors. Catch some fish. But don’t go around other Alaskans.

HERE is the latest update from the Municipality of Anchorage, which does NOT vary from the state’s bulletin…it just spells it out more clearly.

Screeners at the airport in Alaska will accept a test that’s done within FIVE (5) DAYS of arrival, but travelers MUST get tested again on arrival at the airport. Further, they must agree to self-isolate (quarantine) until the results of that second test confirm the traveler does not have the COVID-19 virus.

Heidi Hedburg, Alaska’s Director of Public Health, gave us a tour of the screening stations at the airport and reviewed the steps and guidelines for travelers.

AT THE AIRPORT WHEN YOU ARRIVE in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka:

Look for greeters who will assist you in the terminal when you get off the plane.

1. Have a printed copy of your completed travel declaration form (CLICK HERE to view the form and print it out). Otherwise, forms will be available on arrival.
2. Provide proof of negative COVID-19 test.

If you didn’t get a test before you traveled, some testing available at the airport for interstate travelers (limited availability). If you do get tested here, you are required to go directly to your quarantine location until you receive negative results or for 14-days. 

If you test positive for COVID-19 in Alaska, you must isolate at your own expense for 14 days or until a public health official clears you for traveling.

TRAVELING FROM ALASKA:

If you are an Alaska resident traveling out of state, you do not need to test before departure.  If your trip is very short (five days or less), you will receive a voucher to get tested in Alaska upon your return (no additional charge).

These travel mandates change often. We will update when necessary.

Recommendations:

1. Unexpected events can cause conditions to quickly change. Medical, evacuation and travel insurance are recommended. That said, many insurance companies will NOT cover COVID-19 related claims. So–good luck with that.
2. Minimize your exposure in public settings in the weeks before you travel.
3. Take advantage of the space and great outdoors Alaska has to offer and plan to limit time in public indoor spaces.
4.  Mask on!  Some places may require the use of a face covering. Stay six feet away from others and wash your hands often.
5.  Stay home if you’re sick.

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