Anchorage’s mandate over the entire city mask ends May 21 and will instead be advisory, according to acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson’s office.
The change follows the release of updated guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control that say fully vaccinated Americans can safely stop wearing face clothing in most settings both indoors and outdoors, as well as increase vaccinations among residents and reduce infection rates, officials said Friday. in prepared statement.
“Our decisions on emergency orders have always taken into account national guidance as well as local measurements, particularly vaccination rates and number of cases,” Quinn-Davidson said in the statement. “The end of the mask mandate reflects the progress we have made and the strong position we are in today.”
Mask is not required in indoor or outdoor spaces in Anchorage. Unvaccinated individuals will still be “strongly encouraged” to continue masking, but they will not be required to “a mask mandate that only applies to non-vaccinated individuals would have provided enforcement challenges and increased the burden on businesses,” according to city officials. .
However, companies may still require masks. In addition, a federal mask mandate applicable to public transportation is still in effect, and the CDC still advises people to wear masks while in health care and gather options.
The anchorage assembly already voted to transfer most of the city’s other pandemic restrictions to advice, including guidelines on physical distance from businesses and limits on collection sizes. It went into effect earlier this month.
The city has been on high alert since almost a year ago – meaning it registered more than 10 COVID-19 cases per year. 100,000 people on average over a period of two weeks – but recently fell to an intermediate alarm, officials wrote.
In Anchorage has 137,278 people – approx. 60% of residents aged 16 and over – received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while around 53% of those aged 16 and over were considered fully vaccinated by Thursday.
“We are seeing vaccination rates rise and the number of cases falling as a result,” said Dr. Janet Johnston, an epidemiologist at the Anchorage Health Department, in the statement. “Getting vaccinated is still the most important thing we can do to beat this pandemic, and being fully vaccinated is what makes it so you don’t have to wear a mask. I strongly urge residents to continue to be vaccinated and follow CDC guidance to protect our progress into the summer. ”