The city of Sitka has declared a local disaster emergency, to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus. On Sunday (3-15-20) afternoon, City Administrator John Leach announced the declaration and said all city buildings will be closed beginning this week, including Harrigan Centennial Hall and Sitka Public Library. 

The city will still allow employees who are providing services essential to the “health, safety, and security of Sitka’s citizens” to work in those spaces as needed. Leach said that other city employees will be asked to work remotely or be placed on administrative leave. 

Read the full press release here 

As of Sunday afternoon, there were still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sitka. 

In the release, Leach asked that Sitkans returning from travel limit contact with high-risk community members and consider a self-quarantine. He encouraged local businesses to allow remote work for employees or consider “phasing” by limiting the amount of personnel at work at one time, to avoid creating large gatherings.

UPDATED (3-15-20, 4:56 p.m.): The Sitka Assembly is holding a special meeting on Monday (3-16-20) at 6 p.m. to consider extending Leach’s emergency declaration until November 24th or until Federal and state authorities declare an end to the COVID-19 emergency. Raven News will broadcast that meeting live at 6 p.m. following Alaska News Nightly.

For more information on local events, cancellations and response to COVID-19, visit our information hub