Alaska ends COVID-19 disaster status, says state in recovery
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday ended the state’s COVID-19 disaster declaration, saying the state is in such a good position he doesn’t need emergency powers bestowed by the Legislature.
“Alaska is in the recovery phase where an emergency declaration is no longer necessary,” Dunleavy said in a statement. “Our systems are fully functioning with vaccine distribution, adequate testing, and health care capacity. It is important our focus remains on getting Alaska’s economy back on track and welcoming summer tourism throughout our great state.”
Dunleavy acted on the recommendation of health commissioner Adam Crum, who concluded the emergency disaster declaration is no longer necessary.
“While COVID-19 is still present in Alaska, the urgent nature of the pandemic has passed and we are no longer anticipating the widespread emergency that Alaska faced earlier in this pandemic,” Crum wrote in a memo to Dunleavy.
Last month, Alaska became the first state in the nation to make COVID-19 vaccinations available to anyone over the age of 16 who lives or works in the state. Of the state’s 733,391 residents, 255,876 are considered by the state to be fully vaccinated.
Dunleavy also signed a bill that the governor’s office says ensures the continuation of COVID-19 federal relief to impacted Alaskans and liability protections for Alaska businesses.