Alaska transportation department revises ferry travel rules

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska transportation department revised rules Wednesday for traveling on state-run ferries, changing coronavirus testing requirements announced just days earlier.

The department, in a release, said passengers already in Alaska who choose longer-duration routes must show a negative result from a test taken within five days of departure or provide a sworn statement that they had quarantined for at least two weeks before the scheduled travel.

Longer-duration travel includes itineraries with a voyage across the Gulf of Alaska; to or from the Aleutian Chain, including Kodiak; or starting in Alaska and ending in Bellingham, Washington.

Protocols announced Sunday had called for all passengers over age 2 on the mainline ferries Kennicott, Matanuska and Tustumena to provide a negative test result within 72 hours before boarding. A ferry system spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about why the protocols were changed.

Passengers leaving Bellingham must show a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of departure.

All in-state passengers must complete a screening form, and face coverings will be required for all crew and passengers over age 2, the department said.

The Tustumena is scheduled to resume service July 2 following “COVID-19 mitigation.” The ship faced a recent outbreak.