COVID-19 Travel Advisories
The Alaska Marine Highway System has implemented changes to our standard operating procedures to protect against the transmission of COVID-19 on our vessels. The safety of passengers and crew is our highest priority. AMHS continues to work closely with Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to establish protocols intended to protect everyone during sailings.
These travel protocols were developed with Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) specific to ferry travel and may be more restrictive than State of Alaska travel mandates. Please review and follow all AMHS Travel Protocols when planning to travel by ferry and State guidance for all other travel.
Travel to and within Alaska – Rules for travelers arriving into Alaska from another state or country, and for travel to or from communities not connected to the road system or marine highway system can be reviewed on the state Traveler Information page.
Alaska has many small and remote communities that lack a robust healthcare system, and they may restrict non-essential travel. Some communities may also have additional restrictions including testing or quarantine requirements upon arrival. Please check with the local terminal or with the local communities prior to sailing for information regarding travel off the road/ferry system.
For additional details, please see the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services website at: https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-order/ and the Alaska Safe Travels website at https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/.
Travel to Canada from Alaska – If you are planning to travel through Canada, please check the latest entry restrictions before attempting to cross the border https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/menu-eng.html.
Travelers driving to or from Alaska through Canada must review current border restrictions before arrival. Note: If you are unable to cross the border, you will need to book return passage at your own cost. AMHS will not provide refunds for failed border crossings.
Travel Protocols (+)
Travel Protocols (-)
AMHS reminds Alaskans and visitors about the importance of adhering to the following protocols. If a positive case develops on a ship during transit, the health of all aboard could be impacted. This may include a required quarantine or isolation period for all aboard, with no access to public transportation for a minimum of 14 days. It is up to all passengers and crew to act responsibly so ferry service can continue in Alaska.
Passenger and Crew Protocols
- All passengers and crew will practice appropriate physical distancing.
- Face masks are no longer required on Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) vessels or inside AMHS terminal buildings.
- A recent federal court order ended the US DOT mask requirement for public transportation. AMHS staff and passengers may choose to continue wearing masks, and the CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.
- There are currently no mandatory testing or screening documentation required for passengers to board our vessels, however crew screening measures (see below) are still in effect.
- Passengers will be allowed ashore at all port calls if there are no community restrictions. There may, however, be community-based testing or quarantine restrictions upon disembarkation. Please contact the local community for specific guidelines.
Testing Information (+)
Testing Information (-)
The following information pertains to testing and is provided for informational purposes only. Testing is not a requirement for passengers to board a vessel:
- Alaska Test Site Locator
- US Test Site Locator
- Bellingham / Whatcom County Test Site Locator
- MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care (Family Care in Seattle Area)
- If testing is not available in your location, there are
FDA authorized at home test that may be an option:
– Pixel system from LabCorp
– Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit
- Details about which tests are accepted are located at https://covid19.alaska.gov/faq/
Risk of Disrupted Travel (+)
Risk of Disrupted Travel (-)
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is required to immediately report any illness of persons on board our vessels to the US Coast Guard (USCG) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). New protocols have been put in place to help avoid disruptions to service or create a situation involving passengers quarantined aboard ship. All travelers and crew are expected to follow the above protocols.
A passenger or crew member who presents Covid-19 like symptoms while the vessel is underway will be isolated and crew will follow the AMHS Pandemic Response protocol. The Master of the vessel will notify the Coast Guard as required of any potential Covid-19 cases and follow their directions. The Master will also inform AMHS shore side managers once USCG is notified about the potential Covid-19 case(s).
In the event that a COVID-19 case is confirmed onboard a mainline vessel the USCG and State of Alaska DHSS have the authority to quarantine the vessel at the nearest safe port of call. This may cause a risk of disrupted travel to passengers onboard the vessel which may last an undetermined length of time until passengers and crew can be tested, all tests are negative, and the vessel is cleaned and deemed safe to continue service. A disruption of travel may cause travelers additional time and unanticipated expense.
Keeping our Travelers and Employees Safe (+)
Keeping our Travelers and Employees Safe (-)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the main federal response agency for maritime vessels. The United States Coast Guard has forwarded precautionary information to vessel operators and AMHS is working closely with both entities to ensure our methods and materials remain consistent and current for handling new developments related to the Covid-19 coronavirus.
When crew members report aboard a vessel, at every crew change, the purser will require evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 168 hours (7 days) prior to reporting for duty. OR a valid CDC issued COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card showing a complete vaccination can be shown in lieu of a negative test result and declaration.
AMHS Cleaning and Sanitization
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) uses cleaning methods and materials that are meant to reduce the potential for acquiring communicable diseases. These cleaning methods and materials are designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19, Influenza A&B, Norovirus, and the multitude of other communicable diseases. AMHS has reviewed our Infection Control Plan with all vessel and shore side employees and modified our standard operating procedures to clean and disinfect passenger areas onboard state ferries and in our terminal facilities more frequently to ensure passenger safety.
Here are the multilayer cleaning protocols AMHS has implemented to keep travelers and employees safe from communicable diseases:
Intensified Cleaning of our Terminal Facilities
- AMHS has implemented the use of Virox wipes for cleaning high touch areas; such as ticket counter/window areas, doors and tables. All restrooms are disinfected three times per day and wiped down routinely throughout the day.
- AMHS has implemented a NO contact policy between employees and customers and will put more distance between themselves and customers when providing assistance.
- Implemented sanitization protocol after handling customer hand luggage, boxes and freight, on top of regular washing.
- AMHS employees will no longer be handling customer credit cards, they will request that customers read the credit card details.
- Signage with protocol for boarding vessels has been added to terminals and boarding areas.
Steps Implemented Onboard our Vessels
- All restrooms are disinfected three times per day and wiped down routinely throughout the day.
- High touch areas such as handrails, counter tops, door handles, drinking fountains and vending machines are sanitized several times per day.
- AMHS has temporarily removed certain food service options such as; salad bars, self-serve and unwrapped food items from our cafes. These items can be requested from the cook, server or cashier.
- AMHS is providing continuous training of our crew regarding CDC advised cleaning practices.
- AMHS has updated the use of CDC recommended disinfecting and sanitizing products.