Seward is going ahead with a version of its annual silver salmon derby this August.
Starting August 8 and running through the 16th, fishermen with an itch for silvers will get a chance to win some prizes from the Seward Chamber of Commerce. But in light of the pandemic and outbreaks in Seward and surrounding communities, the chamber is announcing some changes as well.
It’s tradition for people to weigh in their fish at the dock in Seward. There will still be a station, but there will be signage and guidance for social distancing and PPE guidelines. Fewer volunteers will be staffing it, and all will be masked, with masks provided by the chamber. The opening celebration and award ceremony are cancelled, and all ticket sales have to be online, according to the Seward Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber is trying out some new software to smooth the online process as well, which it says it tested during the Seward halibut tournament in June. Participants can use personal boats, charters or fish from shore, but the chamber asks everyone to observe COVID-19 guidelines.
Many people come from out of town, particularly from Anchorage, for the tournament every year. Anchorage reported more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 this weekend alone. Seward had its own outbreak in a seafood plant, which has been temporarily shut down after the employees were tested and non-Seward residents sent to Anchorage to quarantine. A handful of the workers were Seward residents and are quarantining at home.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, Seward saw a small outbreak and the city issued an emergency mask mandate to help control the spread. The chamber, which had planned modified Fourth of July celebrations, quickly cancelled them, and says it won’t hesitate to do the same with the Silver Salmon Derby if it violates health regulations or recommendations, including a city “Code Orange,” a charter industry closures or a ban on travel within the state.
For more information on the derby plans, check out the Seward Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Reach Elizabeth Earl at email@example.com.