Worry over shortages have caused a run on items such as hand wipes and toilet paper, even though officials have said repeatedly that the supply chain from Outside to Alaska -- mostly through the Port of Seattle -- is secure.
District P Senator Gary Stevens of Kodiak represents the south half of the Kenai Peninsula.
“Well, we've got assurances from Madson Line and the other major carriers that the supply chain is very healthy and there's nothing to worry about. I know people are sort of going a little crazy at the stores here. I haven't been to them but my wife went to Costco and said there's hardly anything there,” he said. “But they will be resupplied very quickly here as soon as the barges come into Juneau, and the ships come into Kodiak and into Anchorage with all those supplies, so I don't think people should worry about food supplies.”
Not only does the state have assurances from Matson, but, Stevens says, from the State of Washington, in case the situation becomes an emergency.
“They will not be closing the port and and even then we've been told that if that seriously happened and there was an issue with a lot of illness that the National Guard might step in so that we would still have our supplies coming out of Washington State out of the port of Seattle,” Stevens said.
Fuel is another vital need that Stevens says will be guaranteed by the State of Alaska.
“That can be problematic for the smaller villages who may not have enough fuel and storage to last for however long this coronavirus is going to be around. So we certainly, the state, will take on that responsibility. We'll make sure that the fuel is delivered to those to those remote places,” Stevens said. “That shouldn't be any problem for Homer or Kodiak or Cordova. But the smaller communities that do have shortages we'll take care of that.”
Aside from essential deliveries, Stevens says remote Alaska communities might be uniquely capable of protecting themselves.
“Honestly, I think they're in a good position to just close their borders and say nobody comes in, nobody goes out,” he said. “I think people are thinking about that. They're talking about it. I haven't heard of any villages definitely going in that direction. But certainly to protect themselves, it's something they should consider.”
Tune in to our newscasts Friday to hear this week’s Report from Juneau with Senator Stevens.