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Anchorage to lift all limits on outdoor gatherings

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage will lift all limits on outdoor gatherings in a new coronavirus emergency order is set to take effect on Friday night.

Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson announced the emergency order on Monday, a day before the Anchorage Assembly was scheduled to decide whether to extend the city's emergency proclamation, which gives the mayor the power to issue emergency orders.

The Assembly must renew that proclamation or all emergency orders will be nullified after Friday.

The new emergency order will remain in effect until it is either revoked or the city’s health department certifies that 70% of eligible Anchorage residents are fully vaccinated. The order said about 36% of Anchorage residents 16 or older are fully vaccinated.

Outdoor gatherings will no longer have capacity restrictions, though mask and social distancing mandates will remain.

Many rules regarding indoor gatherings will remain the same, including restricting gatherings with food and beverages to 25 people. Indoor gatherings without food or drinks will remain capped at up to 35 people.

But large ballrooms or conference spaces will soon be able to hold seated events with up to four times the current indoor gathering limits, as long as 6 feet (2 metres) of space is maintained between tables, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Organized indoor sporting events will be allowed to host four spectators for each athlete instead of the current limit of two spectators per athlete. Outdoor athletic events still have no limitations besides social distancing requirements.

The city will also continue to require public-facing businesses to socially distance their customers.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, breathing trouble, sore throat, muscle pain and loss of taste or smell. Most people develop only mild symptoms.

But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia. Sometimes people with a coronavirus infection display no symptoms.

The Associated Press