It’s not just countries that are developing plans to reopen to tourists, but also states and territories. In particular, here in the US we’ve seen both Alaska and Hawaii introduce significant restrictions on visitors, given the unique challenges those two states face.
Well, it looks like Alaska will once again be welcoming tourists as of tomorrow… if they get tested.
Alaska will require COVID-19 test
For the past few months it has only been possible to travel to Alaska if you self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. There will finally be an alternative to that, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News.
As of Saturday, June 6, 2020, visitors can skip a 14-day quarantine by getting a COVID-19 test, either before departing for Alaska, or upon arrival in Alaska:
- Travelers can get tested before travel, but need to do so no more than 72 hours before the departure to Alaska
- Alternatively there will be options to get tested upon arrival, either if the traveler wasn’t able to get tested before departure, or wasn’t able to do so within 72 hours of departure; in these cases travelers would be asked to self-quarantine until test results come back
- Travelers who are tested upon arrival will be given a voucher at the airport for a second test, which they must get in Alaska seven to 14 days after the arrival date in the state
- In the event that tests come back positive, travelers will be asked to isolate at their own expense and will not be able to travel until cleared by a public health professional
- The cost of airport testing isn’t yet known
As Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy describes this initiative:
“This is the thing that is going to get us through this: If we work together — we’re still going to see an increase in cases — but if we work together, it won’t be that unmanageable spike that a lot of folks have predicted.”
A 14-day self-quarantine more or less kills tourism to just about anywhere, so it’s logical to see Alaska introduce some alternative. Alaska is becoming the first US state to require COVID-19 testing for domestic visitors in order to skip a quarantine.
What’s still not known is how expensive the airport testing will be for those who don’t get tested within 72 hours of their departure.