During crowded Fourth of July festivities, unvaccinated people need to mask up
With Fourth of July festivities in Juneau coming up later this week and weekend, the City and Borough of Juneau has this reminder: Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks in crowded outdoor events, like a parade or other event where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. This requirement – part of CBJ’s COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies – applies to all children ages 2-11, as well as anyone ages 12 and up who is not fully vaccinated. Kids under 12 are not yet authorized to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“A portion of our population that loves parades is not protected against COVID-19. So if you are unvaccinated and enjoying the festivities, please mask up. Share the joy and the celebration, not COVID,” Bartlett Regional Hospital Infection Preventionist Charlee Gribbon said.
Gribbon reminds the community that the risk of spreading COVID-19 increases in crowded situations, even outdoors. Though it is not required by CBJ, Gribbon says fully vaccinated individuals may want to wear masks during crowded outdoor events as well, or fully vaccinated parents might want to mask up to support their masked children.
With many travelers in town and Juneau residents who’ve recently traveled, the mask requirement for unvaccinated individuals will also limit the spread of COVID-19 variants. The Delta variant has been confirmed in two Juneau cases from this past month; variants are determined by the State of Alaska Public Health laboratory. Public Health attributed one of the cases to secondary transmission and one to out-of-state travel. Though the cases are unrelated to each other, both have likely out-of-state sources and both had limited to no contact with the general public in Juneau, according to Public Health. The spectrum of mutations in the Delta variant may significantly increase transmissibility and severity of infection in those not vaccinated. This is the fourth type of COVID-19 variant that’s been confirmed in Juneau. Read more about COVID-19 variants in Alaska in the recent Alaska COVID Genomic Surveillance.
Again, individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks in crowded outdoor events. Fully vaccinated means two weeks have passed since receiving a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine or the second dose in a two-dose series.