Juneau assembly votes to relax travel restrictions

The wood of the Juneau welcome sign on the docks is wet from June rain
A wet Welcome to Juneau sign, taken on June 3, 2020. (Photo by Jennifer Pemberton / KTOO)

It’s going to be easier for independent travelers to visit Juneau after the city assembly voted Monday night to relax travel requirements.

It’s welcome news for the tourism industry, which is looking forward to some business from independent travelers. The busy cruise ship season, which usually brings the bulk of the city’s visitors, is on hold while Canada’s waters are closed to cruise ships.

The new changes don’t mean the city is lifting all the requirements, but they are meant to be encouraging for COVID-conscious travelers.

Starting this week, the city is waiving the $250 testing fee for nonresidents arriving at the city’s airport. Additionally, travelers who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks and don’t show symptoms are no longer required to socially distance for five days after they arrive.

For now, non-vaccinated travelers are still required to test before they travel and arrive with proof of a negative result. Or they can get a free COVID-19 test upon arrival and strict social distance while they wait for results.

On May 1, all travelers, vaccinated or not, will no longer be required to test at the airport or follow strict social distance guidelines. But all travelers must still register on the State of Alaska Travel Portal.

City manager Rorie Watt said at the assembly meeting that the city “won’t be shy” about letting the community know if plans need to change.

Juneau is currently at alert level 1, which is the lowest risk level for COVID-19 in the community.

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