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Critical Infrastructure Guidance

Resources from the Office of Governor Mike Dunleavy, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, and Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Protective Plans

All Critical Infrastructure businesses with workers arriving to the State are still required under Health Mandate 10 to develop and submit a Community/Workforce Protective Plan (CWPP) to the Unified Command for review. Additionally, all private sector businesses, whether Essential Services/Critical Infrastructure or non-essential/non-critical, with workers traveling between Alaskan communities off of highway and Alaska Marine Highway systems are still required under Health Mandate 18 to develop and submit a CWPP to the Unified Command for review. Protective Plans can be submitted to akcovidplans@ak-prepared.com. Visit the State website at  https://covid19.alaska.gov/unified-command/protective-plans for guidance on developing Protective Plans.

Seafood Processing Workers

Workers arriving to the State to work in shore-based seafood processing plants, processor vessels and larger catcher-processor vessels must continue to follow the requirements of Appendix 01 to Health Mandate 10. Seafood processing workers are not permitted to shorten or modify quarantine using a test-based strategy.

Seafood processing companies will direct their shore-based plant workers to follow one of the following three options:

  1. Option 1: Pre-Travel Quarantine – Workers will observe a 14-day monitored quarantine period outside of Alaska and receive a PCR test within 48 hours prior to beginning travel to Alaska.
  2. Option 2: Mid-Travel Quarantine – Workers will travel to Alaska and observe a 14-day monitored quarantine period in temporary lodging in a large community and receive a PCR test within 48 hours prior to beginning onward travel to their final destination community.
  3. Option 3: Post-Travel Quarantine: Workers will travel to their final destination community in Alaska, be screened and receive a PCR test upon arrival at their destination community and observe a 14-day monitored quarantine period on site at their facility.

Seafood processing vessels will direct their crewmembers to follow one of the following options:

  1. Pre-Season Quarantine: The preferred method of quarantine for processor and catcher-processor vessels is for the entire vessel crew to observe controlled quarantine and testing in the Lower 48 prior to boarding the vessel and sail as a Movement Cohort with the vessel as a means of Safe Transit. If this is not possible, vessel crews may also quarantine at sea:
    • Option 4: Quarantine at Sea. All crewmembers must be tested within 48 hours prior to boarding the vessel and be screened for new symptoms prior to boarding. The quarantine period will start upon departure from the last out-of-State port. The vessel may not have face-to-face interactions with other vessel crews or shore-based personnel until all crewmembers on board have completed their quarantine period.
  2. Mid-Season Crew Changes – For crewmembers who must join the vessel after the rest of the crew has completed quarantine, companies will arrange for their arriving workers to follow one of the following two options:
    • Option 5: Pre-Travel Quarantine for Crewmembers. Crewmembers will observe a 14-day controlled quarantine period outside of Alaska and receive a PCR test within 48 hours prior to beginning travel to Alaska to join their vessel.
    • Option 6: Post-Travel Quarantine for Crewmembers. Crewmembers will observe a 14-day quarantine period on shore at their destination port and receive a PCR test within 48 hours prior to boarding the vessel.

Seafood processing companies and vessels may follow any of these options which best suit their operations, and may follow different options for plants or vessels in different locations around the State, or for workers arriving from different areas. For example, a company is allowed to follow Option #1 for workers coming from the Lower 48 to a plant in Naknek, Option #2 for workers arriving from Europe bound for the same plant, and Option #3 for workers heading to a plant in Ketchikan.

Seafood processing companies are encouraged to read and incorporate the new CDC guidance on Protecting Seafood Processing Workers from COVID-19, available here.

Commercial Fishing Vessel Crewmembers

Vessel crews arriving to the State must continue to follow the requirements of Appendix 01 to Health Mandate 17. Vessel crewmembers may begin work during their quarantine period under the protective measures enacted by the Mandate but, are not permitted to shorten or modify quarantine using a test-based strategy. Testing is not required for vessel crewmembers, but it is highly recommended that all crewmembers be tested prior to joining a vessel, in order to avoid potential spread among the rest of the crew.

Independent Commercial Fishing Harvesters

Independent harvesters, such as setnetters, arriving to the State must continue to follow the requirements of Appendix 03 to Health Mandate 17. Harvesters may begin work during their quarantine period under the protective measures enacted by the Mandate, but are not permitted to shorten or modify quarantine using a test-based strategy. Site Managers will direct their harvesters to follow one of the following options:

  1. Mid-Travel Quarantine. Harvesters will travel to Alaska and observe a 14-day self-quarantine period in temporary lodging in a large community prior to beginning onward travel to their final destination community. This method will allow harvesters to immediately begin provisioning and operating upon arrival to their destination community.
  2. Post-Travel Quarantine. Harvesters will travel to their final destination community in Alaska and observe a 14-day self-quarantine period prior to any interaction with harvesters from other Harvesting Operations or members of the local community. This method will require harvesters to follow stricter protective measures after arrival to their destination community while in their 14-day self-quarantine period.

Testing is not required for Independent harvesters, but it is highly recommended that all harvesters be tested prior to entering a setnet site, in order to avoid potential spread among the rest of the harvesters. Alaska residents are not required to, but are recommended to follow a mid-travel quarantine at their home community in Alaska prior to traveling to their destination community.

Fishing Charter Operations and Lodges

Charter fishing operations which have staff arriving to the State or moving between Alaskan communities are required to submit Community/Workforce Protective Plans to the Unified Command for review. The employees of a charter fishing operation or lodge are considered Critical Infrastructure workers and must follow the company’s CWPP. Charter fishing operations may choose to accept risk by shortening or modifying employees’ quarantine using a test-based strategy. The clients arriving to the lodge or charter operation from out-of-State are not considered Critical Infrastructure workers, and must follow the guidance for non-essential travelers in Health Mandate 10 and complete their full or test-modified quarantine prior to engaging in their recreational activity.

All other Critical Infrastructure Businesses

Critical Infrastructure businesses must continue to follow the CWPP which they have submitted to the Unified Command for review. If companies intend to shorten or modify employees’ quarantine using a test-based strategy, they must revise their CWPP to reflect that they are choosing to accept the risk of doing so. Company leaders should bear in mind that the most effective protective measure currently available is a full 14-day quarantine. No currently available test or screening procedure is guaranteed, so shortening or modifying quarantine or allowing employees to work during quarantine carries inherent risks. Due to this, it is highly recommended that companies do not use a test-based strategy to shorten or modify quarantine for arriving workers who will be living or working in close proximity to others or sharing facilities such as dining and bathrooms.

Government Agencies

The requirement for companies to submit their Community/Workforce Protective Plan to the Alaska Unified Command is only for private sector businesses. The expectation is that all Federal, State, local and tribal government entities are establishing internal policies for travel and quarantine, but they are not required to submit those policies to the Unified Command. Some government agencies have developed protective plans which they are directing their contractors to follow. For example, all summer road construction crews are directed by the Alaska Department of Transportation to follow the AKDOT protective plan. If contracted companies have not been directed to follow a plan developed by the government agency that they are contracted with, they must develop and submit their own plan if they have workers arriving to the State or moving between Alaskan communities.

Critical Infrastructure Testing

In addition to Travel and Quarantine procedures, there have been many questions regarding the process for CI Workers to receive PCR tests upon arrival to the State. Critical Infrastructure businesses that need to have their arriving workers tested, either in accordance with their own CWPP or to comply with Health Mandates 10 or 17, should make every effort to establish their own testing process through a local clinic or contracted medical service. Companies that are unable to do so may have their arriving workers tested through the State-funded entry testing sites, with the understanding that the sample processing for CI workers will not receive priority over non-essential travelers.

Arrival testing at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Critical Infrastructure businesses that plan to have arriving workers tested at the Capstone site at TSAIA are encouraged to pre-register with Capstone using the form available at: https://www.capstoneclinic.com/project/critical-infrastructure-employer/. Their company will then be available for selection in the drop-down menu of the Capstone registration app at https://app.kelvin.care/. This will also allow employers to register a Designated Employee Representative who is authorized to receive test results on behalf of the employee. Otherwise, the employee must enter their contact information and quarantine location to receive their results personally. All arriving employees must fill out a Traveler Declaration Form. At TSAIA, this must be done electronically, using their own device or the tablets provided by Capstone, prior to going through the screening station. It is incumbent on employers to ensure that their arriving employees know whether or not they are required to test upon arrival, and that they annotate that on their Declaration Form under Option #5. The screening team will not be able to determine this for the traveler. If the traveler is a commercial fishing vessel crewmember, an independent harvester or a wildland firefighter, they should select “Alaska Directed State Activity (Fishing/Firefighters)” from the drop-down menu under “Employer.” For all other Critical Infrastructure workers, if the employer is not available in the drop-down menu under Option #5, the employee should select “AK. Other Critical Infrastructure.” Testing for CI Workers is being conducted at the site on Concourse B, prior to departing the TSA Security area. Testing for all non-essential travelers is being conducted at a different location, outside of the TSA Security area.

Employee Letters

It is highly recommended that workers in transit should carry documentation from their employer indicating that they are an essential Critical Infrastructure Worker as defined under State Health Mandates. Their CI status should listed be in English. In addition to providing this status, the employee letter should also include instructions from the employer to the employee detailing any protective measures they must take in transit, instructions for completing their Traveler Declaration Form, whether or not they need to be tested at the airport upon arrival and when and where they should report after clearing the screening station. To the greatest extent possible, that guidance to the employee should be provided in his or her native language.

Questions regarding Critical Infrastructure travel may be sent to the Unified Command at: covidquestions@alaska.gov, with “ATTN: Critical Infrastructure” in the email subject line.