Friday marks the opening of the traditional Alaska tourist season, but in this age of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year is anything but traditional. Also starting Friday is the start of phase three of reopening Alaska. As Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced on Tuesday, businesses and other enterprises can now run at 100% capacity.
Don’t go popping those champagne corks yet. Dunleavy also said we should still practice good health and hygiene protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19, including washing hands frequently, staying 6-feet apart from non-household members, frequently sanitizing high-touch surfaces, being mindful and respectful to those vulnerable to the disease, and wearing face coverings when in public places near others. We’re not through this long ordeal yet, but we’ll get through if we work together and show compassion to each other.
If you think the pandemic has been tough, remember the reason for the Memorial Day Holiday. Monday honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. The holiday started with people decorating the graves of soldiers killed in the Civil War — even if those were graves of a former enemy. Take a moment on Monday to think of our soldiers, sailors and Marines who didn’t come home. Think too of the newly fallen, those health care workers killed by COVID-19 as they worked to heal their patients.
But take time to celebrate the beauty of Alaska and its people, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST REMEMBER BET: There can be a somber grace to our local cemeteries. Contemplate them in Memorial Day ceremonies at 10 a.m. at Hickerson Cemetery in Homer, at noon at the Anchor Point Cemetery and at 2 p.m. at the Ninilchik Cemetery.
BEST GET OUT BET: You can get outdoors and be socially distant on our local Kachemak Bay State Park trails. Celebrate the park’s 50th birthday with a stroll from Diamond Creek to Grace Ridge and points in between. See the trails report on page B2 for this week’s conditions and some good tips for hiking safely.