Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Police tell residents to stay home as state mandates 'social distancing'

Residents not shy about reporting neighbors

 

April 2, 2020

Kyle Clayton

Haines visitor Tyler Young sits in the cabin of the Kathy Ann, his 14-day mandatory quarantine location. He has two weeks to get comfortable in the vessel he traveled to Haines to buy.

Governor Mike Dunleavy's self-quarantine mandate hit home for Bob Lix, 89, this week after the Haines Police department called and told him, and his family, not to leave his apartment. Police also told Ian Seward and out-of-towner Tyler Young to self-quarantine.

Young traveled to Haines from Oregon on Wednesday, March 25 to purchase Seward's 38-foot wooden troller the Kathy Ann.

"I picked him up from the airport and the following day we were putting the rebuilt engine in the boat," Seward said. "I didn't' realize things had gotten to that level yet."

Someone alerted the police to their activities and an officer approached Seward and Young in the harbor. Seward is now quarantined at home, and Young is quarantining on the wooden boat he wants to buy.

"I'm getting real comfortable with it," Young said of his future fishing vessel.

Young said he has no family or friends in town besides Seward, who the police said could bring Young water.

"I've been watching a lot of movies and TV shows. I can't do anything besides go up and use the bathroom," Young said of life on the Kathy Ann. "Ian brings me water. I ain't got no water down here. Other than that, it's pretty uneventful."

Lix and his wife Sally returned to Haines Friday, March 20. They stayed homebound except for walking their Silky Terrier, Chevy, outside the Soboleff-McRae Veterans Village on Dalton Street, Lix said.

According to the state's "Order for Self-Quarantine" mandate that took effect March 25, those arriving to Alaska from anywhere outside the state are directed to proceed directly to their designated quarantine location. They must remain there for 14 days and can only leave for medical emergencies or to seek medical care.

"Do not visit any public spaces, including but not limited to: pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers or restaurants," the mandate states.

A week after his return, someone reported Lix for walking his dog, and he received a call from the police and his apartment manager.

"The story was we're endangering everybody in the apartment building by walking our dog in the general area to get to the outside," Lix said. "I got a personal call from the police chief who said I or my wife or my dog cannot go out the door of my apartment."

Staff from Haines Animal Rescue Kennel gave Lix dog pads for their 12-pound dog to use instead of going outside when nature calls. "We got pads all over the apartment and the dog does his business in the apartment and we try to keep it clean."

Failure to comply with the self-quarantine mandate is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 or imprisonment of up to one year, according to state mandate guidelines.

Haines Borough clerk Alekka Fullerton, assembly members, borough manager Debra Schnabel, mayor Jan Hill and police chief Heath Scott, have all been receiving calls from residents reporting violations of various state and local health mandates.

Schnabel said those who have recently returned to town, or who aren't following the protocols should contact the police department to better understand what's required.

"Our biggest challenge is getting people to understand that anyone coming into the community has to be considered a carrier of the coronavirus. That's the reason for the quarantine. It's not punitive," Schnabel said. "The police are on standing directives to contact those people and educate them to the mandates and what it means."

The state's social distancing mandate went into effect March 28 at 5 p.m. and supersedes the borough's local shelter-in-place resolution approved last week.

The social distancing mandate, in part, orders individuals to work from home as much as possible, isolate ill family members, and cease public and private gatherings with those outside one's household. Members of the same household can recreate outside but must keep 6 feet away from others.

Those in violation of the mandate could be prosecuted for reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor.

The governor's mandates can be viewed at gov.alaska.gov/home/covid19-healthmandates/

 
 

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