COVID-19

The City of Seward announced this morning that it is modifying operations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The city has restricted access to city facilities and cancelled most activities until further notice. Some meetings are still on a to be determined basis according to City Clerk Brenda Ballou.

Essentially all public access to city services has been restricted at this point. Walk in service counters at city offices, including the utility counter are closed. Individuals are asked to call about service questions.

The Seward Motor Vehicles Office is closed until further notice. All driving tests have been cancelled. Questions can be directed to Mandi Jacobs at (907) 224-4031.

Utility and Harbor Payment Counters at the Harbor Master’s Office and City Hall are closed. Payments will be accepted by mail, online, by phone, or drop box. Customers will still be billed for harbor, water, wastewater and electric services. Past-due balances will continue to accrue if payment is not made, which may result in service termination after full services resume. Water service will not be terminated during this period. Work that would require City personnel to enter a customer’s home is being suspended except under emergency circumstances. Call the utility counter (907) 224-4050, or harbor office (907) 224-4350 with questions.

Electric Department walk-in service suspended. Questions and applications will be accepted by mail, online, or by phone. The Electric Department may be reached by phone at (907) 224-4073 and by email at pgillis@cityofseward.net and tiachim@cityofseward.net.

Community Development Department walk-in service at the Community Development Office has been suspended. The City asks that questions and applications be sent by mail, online or by phone. Community Development may be reached by phone at (907) 224-4049 and by email at jwilde@cityofseward.net and abacon@cityofseward.net.

Fire Department Service Counter in person drop-in visits to the offices at the Fire Department have been suspended. Permit applications may be submitted by mail or email. Staff is still available by telephone at (907) 224-3445 and by email at building@cityofseward.net  or sewardfd@cityofseward.net. Work that would require city personnel to enter a customer’s home is being suspended except under emergency circumstances. This suspension includes fire and life safety inspections of lodging establishments including bed and breakfast establishments until further notice. Required building inspections at commercial and residential sites will proceed as long as social distancing can be maintained. All emergencies will continue to be answered as normal with precautionary personal protective measures taken.

Library & Museum is closed to the public and volunteers until further notice. All appointments and room reservations are cancelled. The Library & Museum will be accessible via phone at (907) 244-4008 or email at libmus@cityofseward.net between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday during this closure. Director Valarie Kingsland can also be reached at vkingsland@cityofseward.net. Library loans can be renewed as long as needed. All library overdue fines for Seward items will be forgiven while the facility is closed, including the month of April, as is our annual tradition for Library Amnesty Month. Library holds have also been suspended until further notice.

The Seward Senior Center is closed through March 20. All programs have been cancelled except the center will continue to provide transportation services and expanded emergency home food delivery services. Volunteers will be delivering the Commodity Supplemental Food Program boxes on Thursday. They will not be available for pick-up. The center is asking for processed fish donations. If you have any questions call the center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. (907) 224-5604.

The city said in its release, “Public health and safety is the City’s highest priority. Given the critical importance of personal hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the potential for economic disruptions that may present our customers with unique financial hardships that may affect their ability to pay on time, we feel this action is necessary and appropriate to ensure that no one is without water service at this critical time. “

With the closure of the AVTEC gym and Student Services Center to the public, all parks and recreation activities using these facilities have been cancelled. AVTEC has also cancelled classes in the Alaska Maritime Training Center due to the short duration of the classes and due to the number of attendies from out of town.

Tonight’s City Council joint work session with the Seward Bear Creek Flood Service Area Board has been cancelled and will be rescheduled to a later date.

The Alaska SeaLife Center will be closed through March 31.

Schools are to remain closed through March 30.

Publisher

Michael Paschall is publisher of the Seward Journal and president of TriDelta, Incorporated Publishing, owners of the Seward Journal.