Healthy traveler: Changes to Alaska travel requirements

In Alaska Travelgram by scott

photo by Rob Stapleton

I spoke to Bryan Fisher, an incident commander for the Alaska State Emergency Operations Center.  Bryan’s been on several calls throughout the pandemic to explain details on how the state is working to keep travelers safe.

Here’s what’s new: for incoming travelers from Outside to Alaska, COVID-19 tests which once were “required” now are “recommended”. This step-down is more a function of politics than anything else.

Fisher is clear: “The pandemic is not over. We still feel strongly there are risks associated with travel, particularly with new variants (of the COVID-19 virus),” he said.

“We would like to have the COVID-19 testing requirement,” he added “and we’re going to have that conversation with the (Alaska) legislature.”

For travelers arriving in Alaska from out-of-state, Fisher said there won’t be much difference at the airports. Screeners will still be there, along with technicians to offer free COVID-19 tests to everyone (not just Alaska residents).

“We want people to come to Alaska,” he said, “but we want them to do it safely.”

Bryan Fisher, Incident Commander, Alaska State Emergency Operations Center/Unified Command

If you or your loved ones are making plans to travel during the pandemic, learn the requirements before you get to the airport. Here in Anchorage, the airport has been operating for quite some time. Which year was this photo taken ( below)?

1. If you’re traveling from Alaska to the Lower 48, you do not have to get tested beforehand. The one exception is if you’re going to Hawaii, in which case you have to follow the Aloha State’s protocols, found HERE.

2. If you are traveling to Alaska or if you you are returning from the Lower 48, you should:
a. submit a travel declaration form.
b. arrive with proof of your negative molecular-based COVID test.

3. After you land in Alaska, you should:
a. Get a second COVID-19 test 5-14 days after arriving.
b. Apply best-practices for COVID-conscious travel, including WEAR a mask, WASH your hands, KEEP 6 FEET away from others. Click HERE for a link to CDC primer on masks: what kind to wear and how to make sure it works BEST for you.

IMPORTANT: Many areas around Alaska have supplemental travel restrictions involving quarantine, isolation and additional testing. It is your responsibility to abide by these regulations.

For example, travelers to Juneau must abide by local restrictions. This includes testing, strict social distancing and recommendations on follow-up tests. READ MORE. REVIEW other local Alaska restrictions HERE .

As the pandemic rages in the Lower 48, states and cities have enacted their own requirements, detailed state-by-state HERE.

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