‘Phase 2’ of Reopening State Begins, Nome Will Wait Until June to Open City Buildings

The Nome Swimming Pool on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Jenn Ruckel, KNOM.

As of today, Alaskans are being permitted by state mandates to slowly return to indoor gyms, swimming pools, and public buildings. But in Nome, residents will have to wait a little bit longer.

City Manager Glenn Steckman says they are going to stick with the local plan to do a phased re-opening in June. That’s partly to allow staff to be safely prepared.

“We are actually looking for PPE materials to properly protect our city employees, when we do re-open it will be at a very staggered re-opening.”

Steckman did not elaborate on what a staggered re-opening would look like at all of the city facilities, such as the museum or swimming pool.

One of the most anticipated re-openings may be the Nome Recreation Center, but that building is being used temporarily to house Nome’s unsheltered residents. The City of Nome has agreed to let both the Day Shelter and NEST use that space until May 31st. Steckman says he won’t interrupt that timeline pre-maturely.

“Then we will be cleaning the facility at which time we will be moving some of the weight room equipment into the gym so we can make sure we will have proper social distancing.”

As for the private sector, those non-essential establishments are allowed to open if they wish. Bars are allowed to open at 25% of indoor capacity and patrons are supposed to associate only with members of their own household, staying six feet apart from other groups while in the building. Restaurants may now open their doors to dine-in customers and operate at 50% of their indoor capacity.

As the city starts to re-open, travelers should know that Nome’s travel restrictions still remain in effect. Anyone coming into the city from the outside must obtain a travel permit and quarantine for 14 days.

Those regulations are up for review on May 14th, and Manager Steckman says he is working with Norton Sound Regional Hospital on ways to potentially relax some of those restrictions.

Image at top: The Nome Swimming Pool emptied during the off-season. Photo: Jenn Ruckel, KNOM file.