Gustavus passes local mask mandate

Four Corners, pictured here on June 29, 2017, is Gustavus’ most prominent intersection. Gustavus Mayor Calvin Casipit expressed serious concern about the Southeast town economically surviving the coronavirus pandemic, even with federal relief funds. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

The Southeast Alaska city of Gustavus passed a mandate this week requiring that people wear masks or cloth face coverings when outside their homes. 

The mandate applies to all city buildings, grocery and retail stores, restaurants and bars — except when customers are eating or drinking — and even outdoor areas like docks and floats when social distancing can’t be maintained. 

The mandate includes exceptions for young children and people with medical conditions or hearing or speech impairment. 

The community of about 450 people bordering Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve has seen one case of COVID-19 so far. An airline passenger tested positive after arriving at the local airport in June. 

The mask mandate is in effect until Oct. 1. 

Gustavus joins several other Alaska cities that have implemented mask mandates in recent weeks including Anchorage, Seward, Valdez and Cordova.