Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Masks now optional at Soldotna city facilities

The Soldotna City Council will also consider the repeal of the city’s COVID-19 disaster declaration during their May 26 meeting.

The City of Soldotna announced Friday that, as of May 17, face masks are optional at city facilities that previously required masks as part of their COVID-19 protocols. Those facilities include Soldotna City Hall, Soldotna Public Library, the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex and the Soldotna Police Department.

The new protocols are in response to recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention, which said that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can participate in activities without wearing a mask or social distancing except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws.

Someone is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second COVID-19 vaccine dose or two weeks after receiving a vaccine that only requires one dose, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

The news comes as vaccines are now widely available on the central peninsula and more than 40% of Kenai Peninsula residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

The Soldotna City Council will also consider the repeal of the city’s COVID-19 disaster declaration during their May 26 meeting. If approved for introduction, a public hearing for the legislation would be held on June 9. In introducing the legislation, Soldotna Mayor Paul Whitney said he hopes it will help the city get back to normal.

“I believe the time has come to end the Citywide Disaster Emergency Declaration and return to some semblance of normalcy in our daily lives,” Whitney wrote in a May 19 memo to the council. “The State of Alaska and many other communities within the State have ended their Disaster Emergency Declarations and I believe this is the time for Soldotna to do the same.”

The City of Kenai voted earlier this week to extend its disaster declaration to the end of June, citing uncertainty about whether or not it would need to have a declaration in place in order to be eligible for additional COVID-19 relief funding.

Soldotna will also host a “Sleeves up for Summer” celebration at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday from 11:15 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. Attendees can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. Kenai Public Health Nurses and the Kenai Fire Department will offer both the Pfizer and BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine is available to people 12 or older and the Moderna’s is available to people 18 and older.

The event will also have a raffle for people who are vaccinated. Raffle prizes include a $2,500 Alaska Airlines voucher, a Traeger Pro Series 575 Pellet Grill and a pair of 10-foot sit-in kayaks with paddles and life jackets. Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, as well as Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum will also be in attendance.

More information about Soldotna’s new policies can be found on the city’s website at soldotna.org. More information about Wednesday’s Sleeves Up for Summer Celebration can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.
Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
COVID is No. 3 underlying cause of death among Alaskans so far this year

The virus accounted for about 7.5% of all underlying causes of death after a review of death certificates.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives during a floor debate on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, over an appropriations bill during the Legislature’s third special session of the summer. Multiple organizations reported on Wednesday that Eastman is a lifetime member of the far-right organization the Oath Keepers. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Data leak shows state rep is member of far-right organization

Wasilla area lawmaker said he joined when Oath Keepers first started.

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

Amber Kraxberger-Linson, a member of Trout Unlimited and streamwatch coordinator for the Chugach National Forest, works in the field in this undated photo. Kraxberger-Linson will be discussing at the Saturday, Oct. 23 International Fly Fishing Film Festival the organization’s educational programming for next summer. (Photo provided by Trout Unlimited)
Out on the water — and on the screen

Trout Unlimited to host fly fishing film festival Saturday.

This screen capture from surveillance footage released by the Anchorage Police Department shows a masked man vandalizing the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage in May. (Courtesy photo / APD)
Museums statewide condemn antisemitic vandalism

Two incidents, one in May, one in September, have marred the museum this year.

Three speech language pathologists with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were recognized for excellence during the Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association last month. (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Peninsula speech language therapists awarded for excellence

“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Evans said in an interview with the Clarion.

Most Read