Mayor Castner: Sustain the reopening with facemasks
At Monday night’s Homer City Council meeting, Mayor Ken Castner responded to the governor’s announcement relaxing business closures in response to a slowing of Covid-19 infections in the state.
Early in the meeting, Castner stepped in to read from a number of Powerpoint slides detailing what is opening and the restrictions still in place while open.
“Every single thing that I read while Jenny Carol was offline included, the words 'masks are required.' This isn't my rule, this isn't the city council's rule,his is the governor's rule. And you know, he came up with a very aggressive way of reopening the state, but it had sideboards on it. And the sideboards are pretty sturdy,” he said. “People coming from out of state have to quarantine for 14 days. That's the deal. That's that's the requirement.”
Castner, an early adopter of community measures to social distance, said he was “perturbed” by some people’s actions last week.
''It seemed like we got to Friday and it was just like, 'Oh, game's over.' You know, ‘we're going to go without masks now, we can all of a sudden we can kind of make believe that it was all just a dream.’ And it's not a dream. The transmissibility is through droplets. The droplets are a huge thing and the droplets are stopped with masking. And it's really, really important that people start going back to wearing masks. We just can't go without it.”
He went on to say that the masks don’t just protect from sneezes and coughs.
“But more than that, laughing broadcasts, singing broadcasts, speaking loud, broadcasts, you know, anything that projecting out of the mouth is a broadcast of droplets,” he said. “And they're discovering a lot of the situations that they've come up with have come from people going and singing together and being at weddings and things like that. And as you become more animated, and obviously inside exercise is another thing that would get you breathing harder, the droplet range increases.”
Castner said that to save a tourist season based on in-state visitors is going to be tough enough without another shutdown.
“I mean, I, I don't think that it's asking too much as we go into a summer season, that we're trying to cobble something together where we get some intrastate businesses going and, and, and, and get some of our businesses lit up a little bit, to ask people to wear their mask and do the social distancing, “ he said. “It's in every single one of the plans, and it's the governor's plan. It's not Castner’s plan. It's not anybody on the council's plan. It's the governor's plan. And if you don't do it, and we start getting some rise in the case count, then we're going to go back to closures and stuff that nobody wants to do. So I don't think it's too much to ask for people to keep their nose and their mouth covered.”
Along those lines, Castner informed the city council that the North Pacific Fishery Management Council will be holding an emergency session to address charter halibut rules for 2020.
“The North Pacific management council is going to take up an emergency regulation on May 15. They're accepting written comments only. No verbal comments. I anticipate that the council will have some sort of a resolution supporting some modifications of a charter rules for the 2020 season at the May 11 meeting,” he said. “But I want to alert everybody that the North Pacific management council rarely does this sort of a thing, but they're going to take up two topics. One is IFQ transferability, and the second is a modification of halibut charter limits in 2020.”
Under the governor’s reopening plan, charter boats may take as many passengers as can fit while maintaining social distancing guidelines, unless all passengers are in the same family. All crew and passengers must wear face-masks at all times and there are rigorous cleaning protocols that must be followed as well.