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Seward requires masks, limits gatherings amid outbreak


 The Seward City Council approved an emergency ordinance last night in response to the rash of cases in the community in the last week. Masks are now required in all buildings open to the public, city-owned campgrounds are limited to 50 percent capacity, and public gatherings are limited to less than 20 people. Restaurants, tour operators and religious organizations are limited to 50 percent capacity or 10 people, whichever is more.

The new restrictions are set to last 30 days. The mask mandate applies to anyone older than four years old but don’t have to be worn when social distancing is possible, when the group is family members only, or when eating or drinking. People with medical conditions or breathing trouble that prevent them from wearing a mask are also exempt.

The city is trying to head off additional cases ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, when people usually head to Seward for camping, hiking, shopping, and other city activities. A number of businesses have already announced that they’ll close t for the weekend as a precaution, including the two bars connected with the beginning of the outbreak. Kenai Fjords Tours is suspending operations as well after two employees tested positive.

Seward follows Anchorage’s mask mandate, which went into effect this week for similar reasons. After a number of the cases in the last week in the state were connected with bars, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink has warned Alaskans that going to bars is a high-risk activity right now.

The actions in Seward are emergency only and don’t change city code permanently.

Click here to see the full ordinance with the new restrictions.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at

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