When it comes to indoor recreation, masks are still required. Here’s why.
The current risk level for the spread of COVID-19 in Juneau is high, according to both the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Operations Center and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. A major component of the EOC’s community mitigation strategies is mask wearing by all individuals when outside of the home and in indoor, public places. As a reminder, the Juneau Assembly’s mask ordinance requiring this is still in place; the Assembly extended it at the end of September. The requirement applies to individuals engaging in indoor recreational activities in communal spaces.
The EOC recognizes that it is challenging for individuals to wear masks while engaging in physical activity; however, indoor physical activity around others is a higher risk activity at Juneau’s current risk level. An indoor environment where deep breathing occurs and people are in close proximity to each other increases the spread of COVID-19, as indicated by this recreational hockey game in June. Any indoor activity, including those involving exercise, must be accompanied by masks at the current risk level.
Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who cannot wear masks for an exempted reason; however, such an accommodation may not include allowing unmasked individuals to participate in indoor activity with individuals outside of their immediate family. Reasonable accommodations will vary dependent on the specific type of activity and may commonly involve a shift to outdoor activity. Children under the age of two should not wear a mask.
Per the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing masks helps prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Appropriate masks include cloth face coverings or surgical style masks that completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face.
Members of the public who wish to become more informed on the effectiveness of masks are encouraged to visit this list of scientific articles and key findings compiled by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Learn more about CBJ’s COVID-19 Risk Metrics and Mitigation Strategies here.
NOTE: This information release has been updated to reflect the most recent CDC guidance on different types of masks. CDC recommends masks with two or more layers fitted securely over your nose, mouth and chin. Evaluation of face shields is ongoing, but CDC currently does not recommend wearing a face shield alone. Masks with exhalation valves or vents which allow virus particles to escape should not be used.