“Alaska’s Plan Forward”—The State Moves to Phase III in COVID-19 Reopening

With only 404 total positive test results, 44 hospitalizations, and 10 deaths statewide during the pandemic as of May 22, 2020, Alaska took a big step forward in reopening its economy and lifting restrictions on social interaction. Accordingly, during a recent press conference, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced that phase III of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly plan would begin on May 22.

Alaska Issues First Phase of ‘Reopen Alaska Responsibly’ Plan

On April 22, 2020, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, and Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska, issued Health Mandate 16 (effective April 24, 2020) to balance “the ongoing need to maintain diligent efforts to slow and disrupt the rate of infection with the corresponding critical need to resume economic activity in a reasonable and safe manner.” This approach reflects Alaska’s first phase in plans to reopen business activity in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alaska Issues COVID-19 Mandates to Clarify Restrictions on Religious Gatherings and to Address Non-urgent and Elective Medical Procedures

Alaska has joined a growing number of states addressing the thorny issue of the size and density of religious gatherings during the COVID-19 health crisis. Like other states, Alaska has attempted to balance the constitutional rights of free exercise of religion and peaceable assembly with legitimate public health concerns warranting the practice of social distancing.

Seattle Enacts Law to Strengthen Wage Theft and Other Labor Standards Ordinances

Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray recently signed a measure strengthening the city’s ability to enforce minimum wage and other workplace standards. The Wage Theft Prevention and Labor Standards Harmonization Ordinance 2015 harmonizes enforcement procedures, allows for a phased-in private cause of action, and provides key definitions of terms in the Minimum Wage, Administrative Wage Theft, Paid Sick and Safe Time, and Job Assistance ordinances.