Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor announces Emergency Declaration in response to COVID-19

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Friday, Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) Mayor Bryce J. Ward announced an emergency declaration in response to coronavirus. The declaration will help with the procurement of aid and assistance to the Borough from State and Federal resources when they become available. This is a proactive measure to ensure the health and safety of all Borough residents.



WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death and is caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus, a new strain of the coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans and is easily transmittable person to person; and

WHEREAS, The World Health Organization designated the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020; the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified COVID-19 as a significant public health risk; and on March 11, 2020, Governor Dunleavy issued a declaration of public health disaster emergency in response to the COVID-19 anticipated outbreak in the State of Alaska; and

WHEREAS, On March 12, 2020, the State of Alaska received the first confirmation of the presence of COVID-19 in Alaska, specifically, in the Fairbanks community; and

WHEREAS, On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic; and

WHEREAS, On March 13, 2020, Governor Dunleavy issued a COVID-19 Health Mandate declaring public school days will be non-student contact days between March 16, 2020 and March 30, 2020 in which students will not be attending school and suspending after school activities; and

WHEREAS, On March 17, 2020, Governor Dunleavy issued a COVID-19 Health Mandate closing all bars, breweries, restaurants, food and beverage kiosks or trucks, and other establishments serving food or beverages within the State of Alaska to public dine-in service and closing all entertainment facilities until April 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.; and

WHEREAS, On March 17, 2020, Governor Dunleavy issued a COVID-19 Health Mandate requiring travelers coming into Alaska from CDC Level 3 countries within the last 14 days to stay home and not go to work or school for the 14-day period following their return and requiring travelers coming into Alaska from anywhere outside of Alaska within the last 14 days to keep a six foot distance from others, not go to work or school if they cannot maintain a safe distance from others, avoid crowded places, and limit activities in public; and

WHEREAS, As of March 20, 2020, there are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alaska, to include five confirmed cases in Fairbanks; and

WHEREAS, Various agencies and organizations statewide and in our local community are canceling or restricting public gatherings, extending spring break, and postponing nonessential travel as a means to contain the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, On March 20, 2020, the Fairbanks North Star Borough (Borough) activated the Borough Emergency Operations Center and is assisting the state and local health partners as requested; and

WHEREAS, The Borough has expended and expects to continue to expend and commit Borough funds to facilitate the needs of the community during this emergency; and

WHEREAS, Due to the current conditions in the area, the Borough staff resources are at minimal levels; and

WHEREAS, The severity and magnitude of the emergency may soon be beyond the timely and effective response capability of local resources; and

WHEREAS, As a second class borough, during a public health emergency the priorities of the Borough are to delay disease transmission and outbreak amplitude on Borough staff for as long as possible; diminish the peak burden on the Borough’s ability to provide essential services; minimize the number of overall Borough staff related cases that would ultimately impact operations; and minimize the impact of Borough decisions on the Fairbanks’ community; and

WHEREAS, The Borough serves primarily in a support role for the State during its declared emergency; the Borough is not a public health authority and cannot assume health powers, even upon issuance of a local disaster emergency declaration; examples of things the Borough can do are standing up emergency shelters; activating the Emergency Operations Center to assist with calls and provide a central place for requests and information; and provide use of our resources, such as schools or other buildings, as requested by the State; and

WHEREAS, It should be understood that the Borough does not have the authority to take actions such as ordering citizens to isolate or quarantine; closing private businesses or otherwise place restrictions on their operations; halting evictions or similar proceedings; and ordering utilities not to shut off service; and

WHEREAS, In order to contain any potential harm that may be caused by the virus, State and Federal assistance may be needed to supplement local efforts to respond to this public health emergency; and

WHEREAS, State assistance in response to the virus, including assistance for fire protection, emergency medical services, and the provision of other funds, services, functions, supplies, or materials determined by the Mayor, in consultation with local emergency agencies and partners, may be necessary to meet the public safety and welfare needs arising from or incidental to COVID-19 and to recover from the damages caused; and

WHEREAS, While the potential extent and effect of COVID-19 cannot yet be known, it remains vital for the Borough to be prepared and take all needed precautions throughout the entire timeframe of the emergency related to COVID-19.

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that in accordance with FNSBC 2.16.040 and AS 26.23.140 the Mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough declares a Disaster Emergency exists within the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, in accordance with Chapter 2.16 FNSBC, orders and/or regulations may be issued as necessary to deal with this Disaster Emergency.

FURTHERMORE, it is requested that the State of Alaska and the federal government provide State and/or Federal Public Assistance and Individual Assistance to the Fairbanks North Star Borough in its response and recovery from this event.

PROCLAIMED AND DECLARED this 20th day of March, 2020, at 11:15 am / pm.

/s/ James O. Williams, Chief of Staff for
Bryce Ward
Fairbanks North Star Borough