Starting tomorrow, anyone heading to the state of Alaska will not be forced to quarantine, providing they take a COVID-19 test. Previously, anyone arriving in Alaska had to isolate for two weeks. The test can be taken before departing for Alaska or upon arrival.
The testing process
In the hopes of attracting more tourists over the summer season, the US state of Alaska is now allowing travelers to visit without quarantining. From Saturday, June 6th, anyone arriving in the state can choose to be tested for COVID-19. A negative test means no quarantine.
According to One Mile At A Time, passengers should aim to be tested no more than 72 hours before departing for Alaska. The negative test results should be shown to specialized screening staff on arrival.
If a test result is positive, a passenger will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days at their own expense. They will not be allowed to travel until a public health worker has cleared them to do so. Anyone refusing to take the test will also have to self-isolate for 14 days.
For anyone who was unable to get tested before flying, a test will be administered upon arrival. Any passenger tested upon arrival will have to self-isolate until the test results are confirmed. These travelers will need a second test seven to 14 days after arrival.
The Alaska state governor Mike Dunleavy said, “we’re still going to see an increase in cases — but if we work together, it won’t be that unmanageable spike that a lot of folks have predicted.” Dunleavy laid presented the plan to state officials on Wednesday evening. So far, the Alaskan policy has been successful due to voluntary cooperation, and they have not yet had to enforce the regulations.
Passengers traveling to Alaska will also have to fill in a travel declaration form on the state’s website. The form allows state officials to administer a test. It also requires a contact number for officials to get in touch should they need to contact tourists while on holiday.
Working with airlines
Governor Dunleavy has said he is trying to work with airlines to ensure all travelers know the rules before arriving in the state. However, the cost of testing at airports, either on arrival or at departure, is not yet known.
As Alaska starts to reopen to out-of-state visitors, Alaskan Airlines is looking to encourage travelers but introducing safety measures. The airline is enforcing social distancing measures at airports and on all flights. The airline has also said all staff will wear masks and gloves, and it would encourage its passengers to do the same.
Will this encourage tourists?
Alaska and Alaska Airlines’ policies for testing and social distancing are all an attempt to boost the state’s economy. The state has seen relatively few cases compared to other areas, due in part to its relative inaccessibility. The testing is hopefully going to encourage tourists to start traveling.
Admittedly, compulsory testing is still a work in progress. However, the state is also looking to work with other states to improve testing at the point of departure. If all states imposed a similar policy, we might see domestic US travel open up very soon.
What do you think? Is this the first sign of domestic routes across the US recovering? Let us know what you think in the comments section.