Screenshot
Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce addresses constituents in a YouTube video posted Wednesday.

Screenshot Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce addresses constituents in a YouTube video posted Wednesday.

Mayors Pierce and Gabriel respond to COVID-19 in separate videos

Gabriel voiced his concern regarding Central Peninsula Hospital, which reached capacity on Monday.

In separate videos on Wednesday, Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce addressed their constituents about COVID-19.

In a video shared by the City of Kenai Wednesday morning, Gabriel voiced his concern about surging COVID-19 case numbers on the Kenai Peninsula and encouraged residents to remain “diligent” in helping mitigate the spread of the virus. Specifically, Gabriel voiced his concern regarding Central Peninsula Hospital, which reached capacity on Monday.

“I’m asking each and every one of you to take personal responsibility for protecting the health of each other, our community and our economy,” Gabriel said. “We need to put aside the divisiveness surrounding COVID-19 and focus on what matters: our ability to work together as a community to do what is right and to ensure that we have the resources to take care of those in need.”

Also on Wednesday, a YouTube video shared by the Kenai Peninsula Borough showed Pierce encouraging residents to take necessary precautions and reiterating his opposition to the implementation of COVID mandates, including mask mandates.

“We’ve all heard the safeguards many times, I think we’ve been inundated with it, you know, ‘do these three things,’ right? You know what they are,” Pierce said. “Some of us believe they work when they’re followed and some of us really prefer to not be bothered with the whole ordeal. I understand. You have the far left and you have the far right and you have those folks that are in the middle. We all have an opinion about it.”

Pierce said the two most important things to him are protecting essential individuals, which he said includes everyone on the Kenai Peninsula, and keeping businesses open. Pierce said in order to achieve those two things, people need to “demonstrate a willingness” to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, including frequent hand-washing, social distancing and wearing masks when needed.

“I want to encourage you to wear a mask when you need to wear a mask — you know when you need to wear one,” Pierce said. “Put one in your pocket, carry it with you and wear it when you need it.”

Pierce echoed Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s concern about how health care workers are being impacted by the virus.

“Look at our emergency responders, look at our nurses, look at our doctors,” Pierce said. “Listen, there’s only so many of them and if … they’re home quarantining they can’t serve you, so we need them back at work.”

Equally important, Pierce said, is lowering case numbers so that in-person classes could resume at peninsula schools. Currently, 34 schools in the Kenai Peninsula School District are operating 100% remotely until at least Nov. 25.

On Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reported 551 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska, including 67 on the peninsula.

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

More in News

A sign outside of RD’s Barber Shop indicating that they are closed can be seen here in Kenai, Alaska on March 25, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Changes proposed to pending ‘shop local’ program in Kenai

Changes to the program have been proposed by city council members, city administration and the public

File
Dunleavy appoints new attorney general

Sniffen held the position in an acting capacity following the resignation of Kevin Clarkson.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai to consider extension of disaster declaration

If approved, the declaration would be extended to Feb. 28

AP Photo / Becky Bohrer 
Welcome bags and plexiglass dividers placed around their desks await lawmakers on the Alaska House floor in Juneau. The committee was among several that had scheduled meetings Monday, the last day before the new Legislature is set to convene Tuesday.
Alaska Legislature to convene amid budget, virus concerns

Neither the House nor the Senate has organized majorities.

New signage at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday, Jan 15, 2020, reminds visitors of health mitigation strategies. Committees from the previous legislature had their final meetings Monday as the new session starts Tuesday. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
State will audit CARES Act funding

Public money, public information.

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)
More than 55,000 Alaskans have received initial vaccine

DHSS announced 153 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Monday

The River City Academy class of 2019 awaits the walking ceremony Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
City of Soldotna now accepting scholarship applications

In total, the committees will award up to a combined $55,100 to eligible applicants

Most Read