Photo: Casmir Lorenz

Updated: Governor Michael Dunleavy spoke the words most Alaskans have been waiting to hear at a Monday evening briefing - as starting Firday they may be able to get a decent haircut, a nice meal out, and engage in retail therapy.

Barber shops, nail salons, restaurants and retail stores were mentioned by Dunleavy as the first wave of businesses to get a green light to re-open, however,  people will need to continue social distancing, washing their hands, and wearing face masks in public. 

Dunleavy said businesses like hair salons already have protocols in place for sanitizing surfaces so it is easier for them to adapt to a COVID-19 setting, and that households could enjoy dining out together in a restaurant while still limiting the risk of spreading the disease.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink says that a “consistent 14-day downward trend” in the number of coronavirus cases will be need to be seen prior to a soft opening of the economy.

Zink says there is now capacity to test 7,000 Alaskans a week, a large shipment of personal protective equipment for health-care workers is on its way to Alaska, and hospital capacity is currently ample.

More details on relaxing the health mandates will be issued this week, according to Dunleavy.