Employees and contract workers at Kensington Mine will now be required to spend 14 days in quarantine in a Juneau hotel. That’s if they arrive from outside Alaska or a coronavirus-infected community.
Coeur Alaska announced the new measures — effective immediately — on Wednesday afternoon for the Juneau-area gold mine.
The move follows a similar protocol by Hecla Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island. The workforce at both remote mine sites includes out-of-state workers who transit through Juneau’s airport.
Both companies say they are quarantining their workforce in local hotels and moving to 28-day shifts to reduce the frequency of travel.
“Coeur Alaska is working with a hotel and restaurants in Juneau to provide lodging and food for our out of state employees and contractors,” Coeur Alaska spokesperson Jan Trigg wrote in a statement. “Hopefully this will help to offset some of the economic losses these businesses are experiencing due to the COVID-19 situation.”
Employees that live in Juneau that have traveled Outside will be expected to observe the quarantine in their own homes, she added.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has exempted a number of industries — including miners — from a statewide quarantine for people arriving from out of state. But employers in industries considered critical must file plans on how they will prevent the spread of coronavirus in Alaska.
Some Alaska doctors have criticized the exemptions, saying “hunker down” and quarantine measures are necessary to prevent COVID-19 cases from spiking and overwhelming local hospitals.