Several residents called in to voice concerns over quarantine requirements under the new emergency order. Dillingham City Council voted unanimously to extend its COVID-19 emergency declaration through September 6 at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
The Dillingham City Council voted unanimously to extend its COVID-19 emergency declaration through September 6 at Thursday’s City Council meeting. In doing so, councilmembers upheld Emergency Order 2.1 without any changes.
That order lifts the mandatory travel quarantine for people who are fully vaccinated or who have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. They are no longer required to have a negative COVID-19 test before travelling to the region, either. Those people will have to provide proof of a vaccination or recovery from a previous infection.
The new emergency order keeps some measures in place for people who are not vaccinated. Pre-travel tests will still be required. They will also still need to complete a modified quarantine upon arrival.
But quarantine will now be seven days, rather than ten, with a negative test on or after the fifth day. People also have a choice to skip the negative test but will have to quarantine for the full 10 days.
Several residents who spoke at the public hearing asked the council to end the City’s emergency declaration. Most callers objected to quarantine and pre-travel requirements for non-vaccinated people and kids who are too young to get vaccinated.
“I have seen the effects of quarantine on the mental health of my family," said Dillingham resident Jon Clouse. "There have been some pretty major struggles this year. I'm just asking that you take that into consideration as you move forward, and I appreciate your time.”
Others said they were worried that kids would miss school because of quarantine. People also asked the council to make exceptions for those who can’t get vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons.
There was support for the emergency order as well. Alannah Hurley was among those who agreed with the action, but she also said there was room for some changes.
“It really strikes a fair balance in opening up while also maintaining some of the safety measures moving forward," Hurley said. "With that, I just want to say that I really hear the people that are talking about exceptions for kids who are facing missing school or custodial arrangements, things like that. I support those kinds of exceptions being made.”
In the closing comments, Councilmember Bill Rodowalt said he wants to revisit the City’s quarantine requirements in the near future.
“The sense that I get from the community is that people need to be getting on with their regular lives," Rodowalt said. "I would like to see us experiment with being a little bit more open with regards to quarantine. I think that, as opposed to when this whole thing began, we have the infrastructure. We have the processes that would allow us to put restrictions back into place if they were needed.”
Travel declarations will still be required for every person who comes to the community. Face masks are also still required in public places. The City also recommends that people continue to practice social distancing.
Emergency Order 2.1 will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday. The declaration will expire on September 6 and council members can make changes to the order at future meetings.
Correction: The Dillingham City Council upheld Emergency Order 2.1 by extending the emergency declaration. It did not pass the emergency declaration as originally reported.
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