Alaska court buildings require masking for entry

A concrete sign with an emblem of the Alaska flag and the words "Nesbett Courthouse". A sidwalk and streetlamps are in the background
Nesbett Courthouse in downtown Anchorage on June 9, 2020. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Face coverings are now required for every visitor to a state courthouse, regardless of vaccination status.

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Daniel Winfree issued the latest order last week, reversing a previous order relaxing the use of masks in state court facilities. 

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Winfree writes that masks are necessary because of the rise in COVID-19 cases and the prevalence of the more contagious delta variant throughout the state. Also, he refers to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which shows fully vaccinated people can spread the delta variant just as fast as non-vaccinated people.

Some exceptions to the mask-wearing rule include children under age 2 and someone who has a mental or physical disability that prevents them from wearing a mask.

In addition to masks, courthouses may resume screening visitors for possible infection and may make them sign in.

RELATED: Providence Alaska says its staff must get COVID-19 vaccine or follow additional rules

Winfree’s order is on top of other health precautions ordered by the presiding judge in each region. In Juneau,Superior Court Judge Amy Mead suspended criminal jury trials and grand jury proceedings until at least the end of August in every major courthouse in Southeast Alaska because of the region’s high case counts and elevated risk.

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Matt Miller is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

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