Bronson administration launches online form to report Anchorage Mask mandate violations

Anchorage City Manager Amy Demboski at the Anchorage Assembly meeting on October 27, 2021 (Wesley Early / Alaska Public Media)

The administration of Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced on Wednesday that it has launched an online form that people can use to report people and businesses who violate the municipality’s emergency mask mandate .

The form asks for the “name of the accused offender”, their contact information, the date of the alleged violation and what happened. It is not known who will investigate the reports and what the penalties will be.

A majority of Anchorage assembly members have been pushing for the city to enforce mask rules since they came into force on October 14, but Bronson is firmly opposed to the mask requirement.

Anchorage City Manager Amy Demboski announced the form online during Wednesday’s regular assembly meeting. The meeting lasted just under 80 minutes and ended early amid disputes over the Assembly’s new masking and social distancing requirements for the chamber.

Demboski said there is now a link on the municipality’s website where people can report mandate violations. The link is on the site’s municipal manager page.

There is still no public information regarding fines or penalties for violating the mandate.

The online form on mask violations stems from the emergency ordinance passed by the Assembly on October 12. It came into effect on October 14 after the assembly overturned the mayor’s veto. The ordinance requires people to wear masks in indoor public places and in common areas.

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Businesses must refuse entry to people who do not wear masks. They should also ensure that employees have access to masks when needed.

Children under the age of 5, people in police custody, people playing sports, people in church and the administration of Mayor Bronson are exempt from the warrant.

When adopted, the mask’s mandate did not specify how it would be applied, stating that “the municipality reserves the right to use any application options available to ensure compliance with this emergency ordinance.” In a letter to the mayor last week, Assembly leaders urged Bronson to explain how his administration would implement the mandate.

Prior to the adoption by the Assembly of the emergency mask ordinance, the Assembly heard public testimony on a separate mandate. An amendment to the previous mandate would have created a mechanism for citizens to report mandate violations, with corresponding fines listed. The amendment received criticism from supporters and opponents of the mandate, including Bronson, many citing that the policy could increase division among members of the community.

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