Alaska Marine Highway Steps Up To Reduce Coronavirus On Board

๐Ÿ”ป PASSENGERS MUST TAKE CORONA VIRUS TEST & WEAR MASKS TO KEEP THE SHIPS GOING THIS SUMMER (But there are some exceptions on testing...


๐Ÿ”ปPASSENGERS MUST TAKE CORONAVIRUS TEST & WEAR MASKS TO KEEP THE SHIPS GOING THIS SUMMER

(But there are some exceptions on testing for shorter trips

Alaska Marine Highway Ferry. (Photo, AMHS)

If you're going to travel on one of Alaska's ferries, you're now going to have to take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of being allowed to travel – just as on an airplane. And you'll have to wear a mask. Your face must be covered at all times while on the ferry, unless you're eating, smoking a cigarette or in your room.

There are other  new rules to ensure safety. For one, you can only get off at your final destination.

The ferry system will start going back to the Lower 48 starting June 25th. Meadow (Riedel) Bailey – who grew up in Kenny Lake – is the DOT spokeswoman. She pointed out to Alaska Public Media, "If we have one positive person on board, vessels and crews have to be pulled out of service."

The worries about coronavirus on ships is legitimate. Earlier in June, seven crew members on the Tustumena tested positive for covid-19, and ship sailings had to be cancelled. Meadow Bailey said the extra precautions are needed because Alaska needs to have "a dependable system."

SPECIAL INFORMATION, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24TH, 2020
On Wednesday the 24th, the Marine Highway added more clarifying information. Here it is, in its entirety:

The following protocols apply for all AMHS travel effective immediately.

Shorter-duration and day-boat passenger travel DO NOT require COVID-19 testing or a sworn statement of quarantine.

Departures from Bellingham, Washington:

For passengers departing from Bellingham, Washington, a COVID-19 test must be administered within 72-hours of the day of departure, and a negative result must be presented upon checking in at the terminal or boarding for travel. The mandatory State of Alaska Traveler Declaration Form must be completed for each passenger and provided to AMHS crew at boarding. Passengers must be able to select #1(a) on the declaration form.

Details about which tests are accepted are located at https://covid19.alaska.gov/ufaqs/what-kind-of-tests-are-accepted/

Longer-duration mainliner routes originating in Alaska:

Passengers already in Alaska that choose to travel on longer-duration routes within Alaska and/or terminating in Bellingham, Washington, must select one of the following two options:

  • A COVID-19 test must be administered within five days of the departure date, and a negative result must be presented upon checking in at the terminal or boarding for travel. For example, if your departure is 3 p.m. Saturday, your test must be administered no earlier than 12:01 a.m. the previous Monday.
  • Testing sites locator https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/app/2d92b77bc8044329a1ee3954b063bd8c
  • If testing is not available in your location, there are FDA-authorized at-home test kits that may soon be available to travelers:
  • Pixel system from LabCorp https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/at-home-test-kits/covid-19-test
  • Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit https://www.everlywell.com/products/covid-19-test/
  • Details about which tests are accepted are located at https://covid19.alaska.gov/ufaqs/what-kind-of-tests-are-accepted/
  • A sworn statement signed that affirms the traveler has followed quarantine standards for at least 14 days preceding the date of travel. Forms will be available on the AMHS website and available at check in.
Longer-duration travel is defined as follows:
  • Any passenger itinerary originating in Alaska that concludes in Bellingham, Washington.
  • Any passenger itinerary that includes a voyage across the Gulf of Alaska.
  • Any passenger itinerary to or from the Aleutian Chain that includes the port of Kodiak.
The following protocols remain in effect for ALL AMHS travel:
Valdez fishermen next to ferry. (File photo)
  • All in-state passengers must complete the Passenger Screening Form before boarding and must be able to respond "no" to all questions.
  • All passengers (over 24 months of age) and crew are required to wear face coverings while onboard vessels, except when in a stateroom, in a designated smoking area or while eating. To the extent possible, AMHS will make reasonable accommodation for a passenger who is unable to wear a face covering due to a disability.
  • Passengers and crew will not be allowed to go ashore during port calls. Passengers will be allowed ashore only upon arrival at their destination port.
  • All passengers and crew will practice social distancing.
Travelers can make reservations at www.FerryAlaska.com or by contacting the AMHS reservation call center at 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066. AMHS COVID-19 protocols for passengers are available at http://dot.alaska.gov/amhs/covid19.shtml.

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