Coronavirus COVID-19 in Alaska – What you need to know.
Are you planning a trip to Alaska and concerned about the Coronavirus COVID-19? We think it’s fair to say, we all are. We’ve put together a list of FAQs and resource links from around the State of Alaska to help you find up-to-date information related to traveling to Alaska during this pandemic. The spread of this Coronavirus Pandemic has touched every corner of the world, including Alaska. Tourism to Alaska and around the world is going to be severely impacted in 2020 due to this pandemic. However, we hope to supply potential visitors with accurate information from reliable sources so you can make informed decisions.
How many cases of coronavirus are in Alaska?
As of May 22, 2020 there approximately 400 cases recorded in Alaska and 10 deaths. Alaska, has one of the lowest infection rates of any state, and has the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. with 10. (worldometers.info)
Up-to-date information can be found at this website:
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)
Is Alaska safe to travel to during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
On May 22, Alaska began it’s “Reopen Alaska Responsibly” Plan. See the plan here. Most businesses are allowed to re-open under this plan with proper social distancing and following CDC cleaning and disinfecting guidelines. This includes hotels, restaurants, lodges, fishing charters and more.
As of April 24, state public health guidelines allow travel between communities in Alaska via the road system. Communities not accessible by road are not open for travel.
Domestic and international travelers are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine period upon arriving in Alaska. New arrivals must quarantine in their home or hotel room for 14 days or the duration of their visit, if it is shorter. This applies regardless of health. The order took effect March 25 and remains in effect through June 2. After June 2, the quarantine order will be re-evaluated on a regular basis. Passengers arriving in Alaska will be asked to fill out a brief form listing recent travel and the location in which they will be self-quarantining. Read the details in health mandate 10 from the state.
As of May 22, the Governor of Alaska has moved Alaska to Phase 3 of their re-opening plan, which allows for the re-opening of all businesses. You can read the new order here.
Alaskans are asked to observe various health precautions when out in public, including wearing a cloth face mask and washing hands frequently.
Everyone in Alaska is being asked to keep social distance and keep away from large gatherings. On March 20, the international border between Canada and the United States was closed to non-essential travel and that has been extended until June 21. Commercial shipments are still able to cross the border and there is a free flow of essential trade. It is not currently possible for visitors or tourists to cross between Canada and the United States.
Are cruise ships going to Alaska?
Large overnight cruise ship sailings are suspended indefinitely, per an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The order expires on July 24, 2020, but could be rescinded or modified before that date.
Currently, most major cruise lines have cancelled cruises to Alaska until June 30. The cruise lines largest trade association, Cruise Lines International Association, announced on Mach 13 that all it’s members were voluntarily suspending operations to and from U.S. ports of call. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, a major destination for many Alaska cruises has moved it’s opening day from Memorial Day to July 1.
The port of Seattle has also delayed the start of cruise season until after the coronavirus pandemic ends. It’s unclear when cruise travel might resume in Alaska. Canada has banned large cruise ship arrivals through July 1, 2020. This ban only applies to cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers. They will be prohibited at Canada’s ports, nationwide, from April 2 through July 1, 2020. There are a number of cruise lines that operate smaller ships that may still be allowed to operate before July 1. These cruise lines include:
It is important to know that almost all Alaska Cruises stop in Canada, either in Vancouver or Victoria. Even if they originate from Seattle or San Francisco. Passengers will need to directly contact cruise lines to see how they are planning to reschedule cruises during these restrictions.
Helpful Alaska Travel Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic
The webpage for the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) will be the most up-to-date organization for the effects of COVID-19 on Alaska tourism. In the ATIA press release from March 12 states:
TravelAlaska Press Release on COVID-19 Travel Tips for Alaska
Helpful travel related links for staying healthy at home and during travel are posted at the CDC website.
For information on how COVID-19 is affecting travel to the Yukon & Northern BC, click here