Governor announces closure of dine-in food service due to coronavirus

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) State officials released a new health mandate Tuesday following the announcement of 3 new cases of the novel coronavirus identified in Alaska.

“Effective March 18 at 5 p.m., all bars, breweries, restaurants, food, beverage kiosks, trucks, and other establishments serving food within the State of Alaska should be closed to dine-in services,” said State Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink at the press conference Tuesday.

The mandate is similar to the Emergency Order signed by Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz the day before, though does not include any guidance on the acceptable size of gatherings. On that subject Zink echoed advice from the federal government.

“The Federal Government had made recommendations yesterday to not have gatherings greater than 10 people,” she said. “So that's going to affect things like movies, bowling alleys, or other [places] where people are close together."

Zink and Gov. Mike Dunleavy, R-Alaska, both recommended continued practice of social distancing. Zink said it’s currently believed those carrying the virus are most contagious when their symptoms aren’t obvious.

“We’re seeing more and more data that really the beginning of your disease process is when you may be the most effective,” she said. “That’s when you may have the highest likelihood of transferring it to other people.”

Meaning everyone should be practicing social distancing, according to the Governor.

“I’d ask the people of Alaska to start to take this more seriously,” Dunleavy said. “Change your habits, change your practices.”

And for those showing any symptoms, all the more reason to isolate.

“If you have any symptoms of fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, you need to stay away from others,” Zink said.

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