Anchorage acting mayor to ease COVID-19 restrictions beginning Friday

Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant is empty on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The normally busy dining room was shut down on Monday to comply with the city's new order.
Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant is empty on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (Matthew Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson will ease the city’s COVID-19 restrictions starting New Year’s Day.

Quinn-Davidson on Tuesday announced the updated rules that will follow the city’s month-long hunker down. 

Beginning Friday, she says, bars and restaurants can reopen for indoor service at 25% capacity. Alcohol service must stop at 11 p.m. 

Gyms, salons and personal care businesses can operate at 50% capacity — up from the 25% allowed in December. Entertainment facilities, like movie theaters, can reopen at 25% capacity. Also, all other retail and public-facing businesses, previously at 25% capacity, will be limited to half of their capacity.

A few orders will not be lifted after the shutdown.

Indoor sports competitions will still be banned and gathering limitations remain at six people when indoors and 10 people outside. 

Officials report that the COVID-19 case rate in Anchorage dropped by more than half during the December shutdown.

“We came perilously close to overwhelming our health care system before the holidays, but thanks to the personal sacrifices Anchorage residents made, we’re ready to transition to EO-17, which gently loosens limitations, while remaining focused on public health measures,” Quinn-Davidson said in a statement.

The new order takes effect on Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 a.m.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.