City of Kotzebue is making it mandatory for travelers to test either before or at the airport

Searchers gather at the Northwest Arctic Borough offices in Kotzebue. (KTUU)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The City of Kotzebue is making COVID-19 testing and submitting a travel questionnaire a requirement for travelers arriving in the city.

Under emergency order 05 which went into effect June 19, passengers arriving in Kotzebue or stopping there to connect to another village or city must compete and travel questionnaire and submit a COVID-19 test administered by Maniilaq Health Center.

Passengers who do take a test are asked to self-quarantine until they get their test results back. Underline item seven in EO-05, it says passengers must “await results of the testing before leaving Wien Memorial Airport to go into the City of Kotzebue or transferring to flights for villages in the Northwest Arctic Borough or North Slope.”

There was some verbiage confusion will reading the line item, for example, can people leave the airport? City Manager Jim Congdon clarified the line item.

“They’re able to leave the airport. They’re being requested to self-quarantine until the test results come back in. So they’re not supposed to be in and among the community, or doing household to household visits but they are not restricted to the airport or anything like that.”

Other highlights from the emergency order include “all non-critical/non-essential personal travel to/from the City shall be curtailed.” The city is encouraging people to practice social distancing and working from home as much as they can, as well as staying at home as much as they can.

An important note is that “travelers who decline the mandatory screening and testing will not be transported by Bering Air to the outlying villages and travelers remaining in Kotzebue who decline the mandatory screening and testing must self-quarantine for 14 days.”

EO-05 remains in effect until July 17.

The Northwest Arctic Borough also put out an additional emergency order. This order for the Northwest Arctic Borough will remain in effect until June 30. NWAB says "the following emergency regulations shall supersede all conflicting laws, except the city of Kotzebue's."

NWAB's E0-05 is very similar to Kotzebue's. The order does implement a borough-wide curfew from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. The homeless community is exempt.

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