To the consternation of some and the relief of others, the Assembly extended Skagway’s 14-day self-isolation policy on May 21 with Resolution 20-17R. Along with outlining policy to prepare for the return of cruise ships, the resolution went against the State’s policy of not requiring intrastate travellers to quarantine upon arrival.
For the record, we invited the Assembly to share in 200 words or less, how they voted on 20-17R and their reasoning. While the isolation policy was lifted by the Assembly on June 4, The Skagway News feels it’s important to track voting records and give elected officials the opportunity to be accountable to voters. This will become a recurring feature in The Skagway News.
The Assembly members who responded to our request regarding 20-17R are featured below.
Assemblymember David Brena
Thanks for reaching out to the Assembly to survey the opinions and reasoning regarding resolution 20-17R, which extended the 14-day, self-quarantine request until June 4. I supported and voted in favor of this extension. It seems that prudence is the best course of action here. We know that some states that have opened early are seeing increased COVID-19 cases.
I appreciate the grocery store and hardware store employees for continuing to wear masks. If an infected person were to come to Skagway, it would likely come from an area with active cases. For me, the small inconvenience of self-quarantining is worth protecting our seniors and vulnerable population.
Assemblymemeber Orion Hanson
I favor a cautious and pragmatic re-opening of Skagway. I have been impressed with the emergency response committee’s policies and, as a whole, the community’s acceptance of the restrictions particularly during the “shelter-in-place” order. Skagway has been a welcoming environment for travelers since the Gold Rush. I applaud Assemblyman Steve Burnham’s amendment to resolution 20-17R in that we should look for solutions to the pandemic going forward this summer in the remote event that there is a cruise ship season.
Re-opening to intrastate travel is a next-step in the process to implement our community and economy in the COVID-19 paradigm. I know most businesses are fighting to tread water with zero tourism. Skagway, like many other Southeast Alaska communities, is connected to Juneau like an umbilical cord for supplies, commerce, medical needs, community and access to the broader world.
As a year-round resident, I believe it is time to lift the 14-day quarantine for intrastate travel. If the occasion arises in the future to hunker down, Skagway has the protocols and community diligence to do it again.
Steve Burnham declined to participate, stating he included a memo when he proposed Resolution 20-17R. We did not hear back from Jay Burnham or Dan Henry. Dustin Stone submitted a statement that exceeded the word limit and declined to shorten his submission.