The Anchorage Assembly held its first reading of AO 2021-13, “An Ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly Amending Anchorage Municipal Code Chapter 16.140 to Require Masks of Cloth Face Coverings in Response to COVID-19 and Terminating the Relevant Emergency Order” at its Jan 26 meeting. It is scheduled for a second reading on Feb 9. You can find the most recent copy of the ordinance here. It was submitted by Zalatel, LaFrance and Weddleton.
Ostensibly, the ordinance is an attempt to put the Mayor’s EO-13v3 in stone at least for a little while. Assembly Member Weddleton admitted in an e-mail that there was much more to do, and the version linked was simply a conversion of EO-13.3 in the format of an ordinance and that he would not support its passage unless there was an associated expiration date.
From here, the ONLY positive thing the ordinance does is terminate EO-13v3. That’s it.
Unfortunately, it does a lot of negative things including but not limited to the following:
- No expiration date. The AO needs a hard expiration date with an overwhelming affirmative vote to extend it.
- People who have had the virus or otherwise have antibodies in their system neither get the virus or transmit it, and therefore do not need masks.
- People who have had the vaccine neither get the virus nor transmit it, and therefore do not need masks.
- Masking is required in outdoor areas. This virus is not transmitted in any meaningful way out of doors.
- Children do not transmit the virus in any meaningful manner, and therefore do not need masks.
- There are no metrics included that indicate when masking will no longer be required.
So far, there is not actual enforcement mechanism included. I expect this will not escape the learned eye of the current Assembly majority. Employers and business owners are only required to post notices that masking is required.
Additionally, customers refusing to wear masks due to medical or other medical conditions are not required to produce documentation under this ordinance because that would be an outright violation of the federal HIPPA laws, something that I do expect the Harris – Biden pro-masking people to quickly address in their zeal to mask all of us forever.
If it were me, I’d make masking entirely voluntary like they’ve done in SD and FL. Allow people and business owners to make their own decisions and herd immunity to eventually solve the problem for us. Personal liberty. Personal choice. What a concept.
Watch this one as it makes its way through the sausage mill that is the current Assembly process. While I do expect the worst, I am willing to be pleasantly surprised. I just don’t expect it.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.