Bethel City Council passes Emergency Ordinance regarding travel to Bethel

On August 31, 2020 the City Council passed Emergency Ordinance 20-26 which enacted the following Rules:

Emergency Rule 1. Travel Quarantine and Testing. Except as provided in Emergency Rule 2, as long as COVID-19 testing is available at the airport, all persons arriving to the City of Bethel by means of commercial air transportation from a location outside the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region shall be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test consistent with State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate 10.1, as amended, or in the alternative shall take a COVID-19 test upon arrival to the region by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Cooperation at the Alaska Airlines terminal in Bethel and shall self-isolate until notified of a negative result, or shall quarantine for a period of fourteen days following arrival to the region.

Emergency Rule 2. Travel for Critical Personal Needs and Essential Services/Critical Infrastructure. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, Emergency Rule 1 does not apply to persons arriving to the City of Bethel for Critical Personal Needs or the conduct of Essential Services/Critical Infrastructure as those terms are defined in Public Health Mandate 18. All workers exempt from Rule 1 under this rule, shall be required to provide a letter consistent with State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate 10.1, Section VII. b., as amended.

Emergency Rule 3. As it pertains to Bethel Municipal Code 5.30. No person operating a vehicle for hire or public transportation shall offer to be for hire to any person arriving into the region at the Alaska Airlines terminal in Bethel unless providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours or proof that a COVID-19 test was administered at the Alaska Airlines terminal. Violation of Emergency Rule 3 is a violation of Bethel Municipal Code Chapter 5.30.

“Since June 2020, there has been a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases throughout Alaska and within Bethel and surrounding communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region,” states Emergency Ordinance 20-26. “The Bethel Airport is the primary point-of-entry for persons traveling from outside the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region to Bethel and other communities within the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region … Bethel City Council finds it necessary to adopt additional public health mandates regarding air travel to Bethel from outside the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region to mitigate COVID-19 within its borders and to protect the health of the residents.”

Emergency Ordinance 20-26 passed unanimously during a Special Meeting called on August 31st, 2020. It went into effect 48 hours after adoption by City Council and shall remain in effect for a period of sixty days from the effective date.

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