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You may have to provide a negative coronavirus test before you visit Alaska

June 7th, 2020 at 2:07 PM
Coronavirus US
  • Alaska is taking an aggressive approach to keeping coronavirus cases in the state to an absolute minimum, with the state’s governor announcing new measures in recent days that apply to visitors.
  • If you want to visit Alaska, be prepared to quarantine for 14 days, or present the results of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Other states, like Hawaii, may follow and take a similarly aggressive posture to fight the coronavirus.

People who follow the travel industry have noticed some subtle but important changes in the way Americans are thinking about getaways and vacations right now, despite the fact that the coronavirus’ US toll has not eased up — and, in fact, is continuing to get worse.

According to Jeff Hurst, president of the VRBO vacation rental service, cabin-fever has been building up among the general public after being cooped up at home for a few months now as a result of coronavirus quarantines and stay-at-home orders. People are showing an eagerness to travel again, in other words, but not necessarily far from home. Instead, the emphasis is on things like road trips, getaways to rental properties an hour or two away from home, that kind of thing. Which puts states the farthest away from people in a bit of a bind — like Alaska, which also just made it even harder to plan a quick getaway to the state thanks to its coronavirus-related rules for visitors.

As of the time of this writing, Alaska has only seen a few hundred confirmed cases of the coronavirus and, remarkably, less than a dozen deaths. And while the Alaska cruising season has basically been canceled for the rest of 2020, travelers can still visit the state — provided they’re properly prepared for what awaits them.

For one thing, you’ll be met with a mandatory two-week quarantine period. However, Gov. Mike Dunleavy has announced an exemption to this requirement, and it starts on Saturday, June 6:

If you’re flying to the state and aren’t thrilled about the prospect of having to stay quarantined for two weeks, all you need to do to avoid that is provide the results of a negative COVID-19 test. The test can either be done at the airport upon arrival, or it must have been done within 72 hours of boarding your flight to Alaska.

During a press conference last week announcing these details, the governor also said to expect to be required to complete a new health form upon landing in Alaska.

For anyone who does decide to visit the state and take a test upon arrival, state officials are also asking you to minimize your contact with people — even if your test comes back negative — until you’ve also had a second test seven to 14 days after your first one.

“We’re really trying to minimize that risk as much as possible to Alaskans, while opening up as much as we can,” said Alaska’s chief medical officer Dr. Anne Zink.


Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.




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