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DOT clarifies rules for riding ferries, including which trips require COVID-19 testing or quarantining

The ferry Tustumena in port at Kodiak.

The following press release, which outlines testing and mask requirements for travelling on the state ferries, was received Wednesday afternoon from the Alaska Department of Transportation.

We post it as received with minor editing.

This is a breaking story and KMXT will have more information, and an explanation of the rules during local newscast which will be posted online later.

AMHS COVID-19 Travel Protocols ClarifiedTesting not required for shorter-duration intrastate voyages
(KETCHIKAN, Alaska) – The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is clarifying Sunday’s press release that detailed new COVID-19 protocols for ferry travel.

The safety of passengers and crew is of the highest priority for the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). AMHS continues to work closely with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to establish protocols intended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during sailings, especially sailings that are longer in duration.

AMHS reminds Alaskans and visitors about the importance of adhering to these 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.

The following protocols apply for all AMHS travel effective immediately.

Shorter-duration and day-boat passenger travel DO NOT require COVID-19 testing or a sworn statement of quarantine.

Departures from Bellingham, Washington:

For passengers departing from Bellingham, Washington, a COVID-19 test must be administered within 72-hours of the day of departure, and a negative result must be presented upon checking in at the terminal or boarding for travel. The mandatory State of Alaska Traveler Declaration Form must be completed for each passenger and provided to AMHS crew at boarding. Passengers must be able to select #1(a) on the declaration form.

Details about which tests are accepted are located at

Longer-duration mainliner routes originating in Alaska:

Passengers already in Alaska that choose to travel on longer-duration routes within Alaska and/or terminating in Bellingham, Washington, must select one of the following two options:

1. A COVID-19 test must be administered within five days of the departure date, and a negative result must be presented upon checking in at the terminal or boarding for travel. For example, if your departure is 3 p.m. Saturday, your test must be administered no earlier than 12:01 a.m. the previous Monday.

2. A sworn statement signed that affirms the traveler has followed quarantine standards for at least 14 days preceding the date of travel. Forms will be available on the AMHS website and available at check-in.

Longer-duration travel is defined as follows:

  • Any passenger itinerary originating in Alaska that concludes in Bellingham, Washington.
  • Any passenger itinerary that includes a voyage across the Gulf of Alaska.
  • Any passenger itinerary to or from the Aleutian Chain that includes the port of Kodiak.

The following protocols remain in effect for ALL AMHS travel:

  • All in-state passengers must complete the Passenger Screening Form before boarding and must be able to respond “no” to all questions.
  • All passengers (over 24 months of age) and crew are required to wear face coverings while onboard vessels, except when in a stateroom, in a designated smoking area or while eating. To the extent possible, AMHS will make reasonable accommodation for a passenger who is unable to wear a face covering due to a disability.
  • Passengers and crew will not be allowed to go ashore during port calls. Passengers will be allowed ashore only upon arrival at their destination port.
  • All passengers and crew will practice social distancing.

Travelers can make reservations at or by contacting the AMHS reservation call center at 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066. AMHS COVID-19 protocols for passengers are available at

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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M/V Tustumena at the dock in Kodiak. (Photo by Maggie Wall/KMXT)
M/V Tustumena at the dock in Kodiak. (Photo by Maggie Wall/KMXT)