Fairbanks Democratic Rep. Adam Wool, along with 17 other state lawmakers, has sent a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy urging him to issue a statewide shelter-in-place mandate to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The one-page letter was spearheaded by Wool but quickly drew the support of a bipartisan group of other representatives, including three other Interior lawmakers.
"Alaska is in crisis. COVID-19 has been detected in multiple communities across our state, and without extreme measures, the virus will continue to spread rapidly and impact us all for generations. Additional decisive action must be taken to protect the lives and well-being of all Alaskans," the letter reads.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz issued a municipality-wide "hunker down" mandate last week. However, a number of boroughs and cities across the state lack of the powers to issue their own such mandates, a point the letter brings up.
"These measures are aimed at reducing the burden on our health care system and avoiding preventable loss of life. However, many municipalities lack the legal authority to issue these types of mandates, and areas outside organized boroughs do not have these health care powers and need state action," the letter continues.
"We respectfully ask that you issue a statewide shelter in place order in Alaska. We ask that the duration of this shelter in place order should be determined with recommendations from the state's chief medical officer and the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services," the letter states. "While such an order would undoubtedly cause hardship for some Alaskans, it is our firm belief that the people of Alaska will bear this and even more sacrifices to keep their friends, family, and neighbors safe."
The letter was signed by Wool, in addition to Reps. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage; Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks; Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham; Dave Talerico, R-Healy; Andy Story, D-Juneau; Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage; Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan; Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage; Jonathan Kriess-Tomkins, D-Sitka; Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage; Sharon Jackson, R-Eagle River; Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks; Sara Hannan, D-Juneau; John Lincoln, I-Kotzebue; Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage; Matt Claman, D-Anchorage; Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel; and Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage.
This story will be updated.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.