By Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2020

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - People in Alaska’s capital city are required to wear face coverings in certain indoor public settings under an ordinance passed by local leaders as a way to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly on Monday passed the measure, which is similar to one earlier enacted in Anchorage. It calls for the use of face coverings in places such as grocery stores, restaurants, bars, child care and personal care facilities, and in communal office areas where people from multiple households are present. Masks are to be used in elevators and on public transportation, when passengers are present.

Exceptions include people who cannot tolerate a mask because of medical conditions or disabilities; those exercising, if masks interfere with their breathing; and children under 12, unless a caregiver supervises the mask use. Masks are not to be worn by kids younger than 2.

The ordinance allows for fines up to $25 for violations. It also states a violation does not create grounds for harassment.

Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove said by email Tuesday the approach will be to educate first and write tickets if needed.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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