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 March 30, 2020 there approximately 100 cases recorded in Alaska and 1 death. 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?
As of March 20, the State of Alaska has issued a statewide Health Alert limiting all travel in and around the state to only essential travel.
Click here for to see the State of Alaska COVID-19 health Alert.
The Municipality of Anchorage has ordered the city to “Hunker Down” Until April 14 (see order here).
Click here for the original Anchorage Coronavirus Press Release. Here is an excerpt:
“Everyone currently in the Municipality of Anchorage shall stay at home as much as
possible, except to work in certain critical jobs, listed below; to buy, sell, or deliver groceries or other
important goods; to receive or provide health care; and to get fresh air without contacting others. On the
limited occasions when individuals leave home, they should maintain social distancing of at least six feet
from any person outside their household whenever possible. Individuals are also encouraged to practice
recommended hygiene, including regular hand washing.”
There are a few known cases in Alaska, and everyone 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. 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?
On March 12, 2020 Princess Cruise lines announced a 60 day pause on all cruise ship operations as a proactive response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here is part of the statement released by Princess Cruises:
“By taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of our ships, it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world.”
Holland America Cruise Lines announced on March 17, 2020 that they were also taking a 30 pause on all sailings during this crisis.
“Due to the continued port closures and travel restrictions surrounding COVID-19 and in an abundance of caution, Holland America Line has made the decision to voluntarily pause global cruise operations of its 14 ships for 30 days, impacting sailings scheduled to depart through April 14, 2020.”
Canada has also 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 would still be allowed to stop in Canada on the way to Alaska 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:
“ATIA stands ready to support Alaska tourism business owners, who are at the heart of our state’s travel industry. Alaska is a destination like no other, and more than 1.3 million people traveled to Alaska by cruise ship in 2019. The cruise industry supports approximately 2,175 businesses throughout the state that provide tours, activities, and services to the cruise lines and their passengers. Alaska’s tourism industry supports 1 in 10 Alaska jobs and generates more than $4.5 billion in economic impact for Alaska, supporting our businesses, families, and communities.”
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