City and Borough of Juneau won't open facilities with state on Friday, seeking Assembly guidance

Downtown Juneau, Alaska, as seen from the water.
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The City and Borough of Juneau said Thursday that it will not be opening its facilities on Friday and is instead encouraging businesses to proceed "cautiously" with opening back up.

While the state's reopening plan includes relaxing restrictions for several non-essential businesses and other resources - for example, swimming pools will reopen to 50 percent capacity, while museums and libraries will reopen to 25 percent capacity - CBJ said Thursday that the local assembly will be hearing more information and continuing discussions "on how to responsibly move forward" before making any final decisions.

Two special assembly meetings will take place on Monday, officials said. As of early Thursday afternoon, the state had still not yet posted a written copy of required protocols.

"The City and Borough of Juneau does not intend to open public facilities, like pools and libraries, until the Assembly has had time to understand the Governor’s approach and his rationale for implementing it," officials said in a prepared statement released on Thursday. "CBJ encourages all business owners to proceed slowly and judiciously so that Juneau’s economic reopening can be successful and done properly."

In the first special meeting, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink is expected to give a presentation. This will take place at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 11. You can listen in or watch the presentation by joining the webinar here, or by calling (346) 248-7799 and entering webinar ID 94004316962. You may also watch on Facebook Live.

Later in the day another special meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. To listen or watch this meeting, join the webinar here, or call (346) 248-7799 and enter webinar ID 93209984944. Again, you may also watch a live stream on Facebook.

"With the state’s gradual lifting of restrictions, the state emphasized a greater need for individuals to adhere to general preventive guidelines," officials wrote. "It’s up to the general public to ensure there isn’t a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases."

CBJ suggested maintaining social distancing, using cloth face coverings, washing your hands frequently, sanitizing frequently-touched surfaces, and utilizing online ordering for contact-less pickup and delivery. Additionally, if you’re 65 or older or someone with an underlying medical condition, you should continue to stay home as much as possible.

"These preventive measures are working," officials continued, "and are why Alaska and Juneau have low numbers of COVID-19 cases. It’s important to keep doing all the things that have helped flatten the curve."

Phase II of the The State of Alaska's reopening plan goes into effect on May 8, and includes the reopening of most non-essential businesses, increased capacity for businesses that opened during the first phase, and social and religious gatherings increasing to 50 people.

The updated state health mandate announced on Wednesday evening were expected to be released sometime on Thursday.

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