Alaska officials, to continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, have released a set of new travel restrictions, which went into effect on Aug. 11 and now apply to all incoming tourists to the state.
With the new rules, non-residents will no longer have the option for a five-day pretest or the option to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving into the state. Instead, they will now need to get tested within three days of their departure and visitors can also have proof of a pending test result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. Screeners at the airport will verify test results.
Those with a negative PCR test will still be required to follow strict social distancing requirements, while those awaiting results will need to self-quarantine and follow social distancing rules for 14 days or until a second negative test is taken and received at 7-14 days after arrival.
Visitors can travel directly to their final destination and quarantine in place at any lodging, residence, RV, campsite or wilderness as long as there’s cell service or internet access to receive results.
Restaurants, bars, and any group activities are still off limits. Travelers will be asked to use take-out and delivery options for food, avoid unnecessary shopping, and “enjoy the great outdoors and Alaska’s wide open spaces.”
One of the other major changes in the new protocols is that free testing at the airport is only available for Alaska residents. Non-residents who arrive without having tested in advance will be required to pay $250 per test to be tested at an airport testing site. Visitors will have to quarantine until the results come back.
Testing will continue to be provided at no cost at airport testing sites to Alaska residents traveling into the state.
“Travel is essential to Alaska’s well-being but by strongly incentivizing testing before travel for nonresidents, we expect to reduce the number of travelers who test positive for COVID-19 after arriving into our state. This will allow us to direct resources to where they are needed most, and will also allow us to offer testing for intrastate travelers to help protect our rural communities,” Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said in a statement.
The State of Alaska is rolling out a Travel Portal where every traveler will complete the Travel Declaration Form. Under the revised mandate, travelers will also now be required to fill out a three-question self-isolation plan on the portal, detailing how they plan to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 while in Alaska.