April 30, 2021 (Juneau, AK) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy signed a proclamation today ending the State of Alaska COVID-19 Disaster Declaration. Governor Dunleavy took immediate action following the signing of House Bill 76, legislation that ensures the continuation of COVID-19 federal relief to impacted Alaskans and liability protections for Alaska businesses.
“Today I took immediate action to end the COVID-19 disaster declaration. Alaska is in the recovery phase where an emergency declaration is no longer necessary,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Our systems are fully functioning with vaccine distribution, adequate testing, and health care capacity. It is important our focus remains on getting Alaska’s economy back on track and welcoming summer tourism throughout our great state. I am confident in our state’s future as we move forward.”
Governor Dunleavy signs a proclamation ending the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration in the Alaska State Capitol on April 30, 2021. Dunleavy is pictured with Representative Cathy Tilton, DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum, and Senator Micciche. Click here for photos.
With the signing of HB 76 and then ending the disaster declaration, Governor Dunleavy is allowing the acceptance of federal COVID relief funds without risk of chargeback to the state treasury. Some estimates placed the chargeback costs in 2021 of $100 million. The legislation also ensures the uninterrupted continuation of the State’s vaccine distribution and COVID-19 management programs, which includes enhanced SNAP benefits to Alaskans with food insecurity. House Bill 76 contains a comprehensive liability protection for Alaska businesses, and bans the use of any federal COVID-19 relief funds to be used for abortions in Alaska.
The governor’s actions follow recommendation by DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum that conclude the public health emergency disaster declaration is no longer necessary in Alaska. Crum signed a Public Health Order, directing DHSS to continue taking all necessary actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic including leading Alaska’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts by facilitating cooperation between local health officers, state agencies, tribal health authorities, and the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
“While COVID-19 is still present in Alaska, the urgent nature of the pandemic has passed and we are no longer anticipating the widespread emergency that Alaska faced earlier in this pandemic,” wrote Commissioner Crum in a memo to the governor. “As a result of the state’s early containment efforts, we have established a comprehensive public health infrastructure to respond to COVID-19 that will remain in place as we continue to strive to keep infection rates low, testing availability high, and protect the capacity of our health care facilities to address cases of COVID-19, while accommodating all medical and health related issues that the residents of our state encounter.”
The Alaska State Senate passed House Bill 76 on Wednesday, with concurrence in the House of Representatives on Thursday. Senate President Peter Micciche and Representative Cathy Tilton were present at today’s bill signing ceremony.
“I am proud to stand with Governor Dunleavy as Alaska transitions back to normalcy. Today, we celebrate the end of the emergency declaration thanks to innovative solutions in the Senate’s version of HB 76,” said Senator Micciche. “In collaboration with the administration and the House, this bill was designed to manage us out of the pandemic, while still protecting Alaskans. It will provide critical economic support to those harmed by local government actions, helping them rebuild their lives and regain financial independence. The emergency declaration is dead, and the tools are here for businesses to reopen, students to return to the classroom, and for all to enjoy the freedom of a pre-COVID Alaska.”
The Governor’s signed proclamation can be found here.
Click here for a FAQ on HB76.