Valdez became the latest Alaska community to pass a mask mandate.
The city council voted 5-2 in favor of the mandate at a meeting on Tuesday. It applies to all indoor areas where social distancing can’t be maintained, including on public transportation, taxis and rideshares.
So far just two Valdez residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Four nonresidents have also tested positive, according to the city.
The mandate has some exceptions including for people with health concerns, children under five years old, and people with disabilities that would prevent them from wearing masks. It also allows for exceptions for people actively eating or drinking, and for children over five at school, as decided by the Valdez School District.
Most public comments at Tuesday’s meeting were in favor of the mandate, which goes into effect Friday.
Valdez joins several other cities that have imposed mask mandates in recent weeks, including Anchorage and Seward. Cordova has had a mandate in place since April. A mask mandate failed to pass the Ketchikan City Council Tuesday, and one is expected to be introduced to the Juneau Assembly at a special meeting Wednesday.