COVID risk at level one minimal, Mask mandate lifted

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - With the recent COVID risk level being lowered to minimal in Juneau, Emergency Operations Center Planning Section Chief Denise Koch was asked on Action Line what lead to that decision and what changes can residents expect.

    Koch said they look at case counts and overall hospital capacity.

    "All of those factors that we were looking at were trending in the right direction. So the number of cases were falling, the hospital capacity was stable for a really long time, everything was looking pretty good," she said. "We don't want to ask the community to do more than really, really the risk merits at the time. So we decided to move from moderate to minimal which is level one."

    And so she explained what risk level one mitigations entail.

    "Masking essentially becomes recommended but is not required. So there is no mask mandate."

    Koch highlighted an exception, which is masking at federal facilities.

    "There are some federal rules that guide what you can do in public transportation. So ultimately CBJ does not have control over them. So if if you were taking the bus to the airport, you'd need to be masked on the bus. You'd need to be masked in the airport, you'd need to be masked in the airplane because those are governed by separate federal rules that we don't have control over. The federal government is going to revisit those decisions in mid-March as well."

    As for businesses;

    "Private people and private businesses can still make their own choices. They can choose to mask if they'd like based on their personal circumstances, businesses can make their own rules for their staff or patrons, but it's the business's decision," she said.

    Koch said that masking policies at Juneau schools are not driven by the city but rather by the school board.

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