Alaska legislative leaders to weigh Capitol mask mandate

Alaska legislative leaders are expected to consider Monday a proposal that would require masks at the state Capitol as the Legislature opens a special session amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Most of Alaska is under high alert status, which is based on new reported cases in the past seven days, according to the state health department.

RELATED: Here’s what’s on the agenda for the Alaska Legislature’s third special session

The city of Juneau requires masks in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status, though the Capitol doesn’t fall under the city jurisdiction, said Rep. Sara Hannan, the chair of the Legislative Council.

The council, composed of House and Senate leaders, is set to meet Monday afternoon, after lawmakers convene their third special session this year. The proposed policy calls for face coverings in legislative facilities regardless of vaccination status.

The proposal also states that masks are optional in an individual lawmaker’s office but that masking rules must be adhered to if Legislative Affairs Agency staff or lounge staff are to enter. The lounge provides food service.

The council in May voted to make mask-wearing optional, following an easing of testing rules as more people got vaccinated against COVID-19.

Recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance recommends masks in indoor public settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.

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