My fellow Alaskans,
I’m speaking to you today because Alaska is facing an escalating crisis that I need your help to solve. Like the rest of the nation, Alaska’s COVID-19 status is now in the red.
That means COVID-19 is rapidly spreading through our communities. Our healthcare workers, first responders, and service members are being infected at unprecedented rates.
A trauma nurse needs to care for accident victims. Paramedics and police officers must be able to report to work to protect Alaskans. If too many are infected, they cannot perform these critical duties.
As a result of this surge in cases, I am taking the following actions:
- On Monday, my new 30-day disaster declaration takes effect.
- I’m also directing all State employees to work from home whenever feasible.
- Masks and distancing are mandatory at State work sites for employees and visitors alike.
I must stress that the next three weeks are critical. Starting today, through the end of November, I am going to ask all Alaskans to sacrifice a little more by changing your daily routines:
- If you own a business that can operate remotely, send your employees home.
- I’m urging municipalities to take similar action and protect your workforce and communities.
- If your organization can meet remotely, do so. If you can order food and supplies online and pick up at the curb, do so.
If we are going to keep our hospitals running and businesses open, all Alaskans must return to the same mindset that worked so well this spring.
- We know from experience that distance is the primary tool that works in the battle against this virus.
- Stay six feet apart from all non-household members.
- If you cannot do that, if you cannot stay six feet apart, I’m asking everyone to wear a mask in any and every setting
We are entering the holiday season. It’s perfectly understandable to want to spend time with family and friends indoors. This year, I’m asking that you consider celebrating differently.
My job as governor is not to tell you how to live your life. My job is to ensure the security and safety of Alaska. I can’t do that without your help.
I’m asking you to reach deep for the next three weeks. If we can buy time for our critical workers, if we can keep our systems operational, we can avoid being forced to take further action.
But if we cannot reduce the spread of this virus, we reduce our future options for how to proceed. No matter what you believe about the virus, the facts are the facts. Hospitalizations and sick healthcare workers are reaching untenable levels. We must act together now while we still have choices.
We have sacrificed so much in order to fight this virus. Alaskans have done so well and I am proud to be your governor. With the advent of inoculations on the horizon, the end to this fight is in sight.
For the next three weeks, I am asking you as the governor of Alaska, that we do everything possible to reduce these cases and bend this trend downward.
I have great faith in the people of Alaska. We got the upper hand on this virus before, and we can do it again.
I want to thank you for doubling down on your efforts to get Alaska to where it needs to be.
So with that, God bless you, and God bless the great state of Alaska.