ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

City Officials Set Path to Get Business Relief

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Plans are in the works to make financial help available for Sitka businesses and nonprofits harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The money would come from state and federal sources, and although the amounts and other details are not yet known, local officials say they want to be ready to make sure Sitkans get their share.
    “What we’re focusing on with the big stimulus packages is trying to figure out what those are going to look like and how Sitka can take advantage,” said Garry White, director of the Sitka Economic Development Association. “There’s a lot of unknowns and we’re trying to make sure we’re ready when that information does come out to move swiftly.”
    City Administrator John Leach today said he’s working with the congressional delegation, explaining the impact of the pandemic on Sitka’s diverse economy, including fishing, health care, education, small businesses, non-profits, tourism and government services on the economy.
    “The purpose is to get as much federal support as we can,” he said.
    Both White and Rachel Roy, director of Visit Sitka and the Chamber of Commerce, are starting to reach out to businesses to provide information on the financial impact of the virus emergency on their businesses.
    “I’m encouraging businesses to track what it’s doing to their business so when relief money comes or loans and grants are available – if we start now, we will have cumulative information on the impact,” Roy said.
    Robin Sherman, program manager of the Sitka Legacy Foundation, is encouraging non-profits to participate in a statewide survey for the Foraker Group to help determine the impact on non-profits.
    Sherman has already sent out a separate local survey to dozens of organizations to determine impacts on Sitka nonprofits, but knows there are others that are taking losses because of the emergency.
    Sherman said those needing a survey can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , one response per nonprofit. A link is posted on the Sitka Legacy Foundation Facebook page.

Darby Ipock of LFS Marine Supplies, left, hands a bag of boat hardware to Sandi Riggs, that Riggs had phoned in. Businesses in Sitka are incorporating CDC recommendations into their business practices. (Sentinel Photo)

    Roy added, “As we look at what our state needs, what our community needs, there will be better data.”
    Sitka’s state Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins says loans will be available for Alaska businesses through the federal Small Business Administration. Gov. Dunleavy has submitted an Economic Injury Disaster Loan request to the Small Business Administration.
    “The SBA needs to take care of some administrative steps before loan requests can be submitted,” said Kreiss-Tomkins’ aide Kevin McGowan. “We’re hearing that this will take three or four days. That’s not guaranteed — it could take longer — but businesses that want to receive loan relief can start preparing things now.”
    He said a typical application package would include:
    – Completed SBA loan application (SBA Form 5) (this is electronic/online in the portal).
    – Completed and signed Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506-T) for the applicant, principals, and affiliates; each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, each general partner or managing member; and, for any owner who has more than 50 percent ownership in an affiliate business.
        – Affiliates include business parents, subsidiaries and/or other businesses with common ownership or management Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202) listing all fixed debts.
    – Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) completed, signed, and dated by the applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, and each general partner or managing member.
    – Income, balance sheet, and cash flow documents. If the most recent Federal income tax return hasn’t been filed, a year-end profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet for that tax year.
    – A current year-to-date profit-and-loss statement.
    – Additional Filing Requirements (SBA Form 1368) providing monthly sales figures.
    “I’d recommend reaching out to the folks at Alaska Small Business Development Center for guidance on any of these steps,” McGowan said. “They’re going to have the best, most up-to-speed advice on how to navigate this. I recognize that an SBA loan may not be the best option for everyone, nor will it be the silver bullet many businesses need. As we learn of other forms of assistance we will do our best to keep everyone in the loop.”
    The phone number for the ASBDC is 907-463-3789. McGowan recommended staying up-to-date about opportunities on the website: s://
    Roy also encouraged Sitkans to support local businesses by;
    – ordering take out and delivery from restaurants.
    – writing online reviews about Sitka businesses.
    – patronizing local businesses instead of ordering online.
    “Business is happening it’s just different, it looks different,” Roy said.
    She also noted a few “positives” going on in town, including groups and individuals reaching out to those at higher risk, and offering to shop or help in some other ways.
    But she’s also trying to keep a positive attitude and looking forward to the time when Sitka once again is able to welcome visitors. She noted the release of the visitor guide, used to help attract conventions to Sitka, as well as this week’s announcement by the Royal Caribbean cruise line that they plan to bring 70,000 passengers to Sitka in 2021.
    “I needed that today,” Roy said. She said the pandemic has emphasized the impact that tourism has on the Sitka economy.
    “It’s amazing how this industry is integrated into so much of our community,” she said. “Now it’s going to be felt because we had to stop our tourism.”


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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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