STAYING CLOSE – Jeanette Warner, right, and her daughter Elizabeth visit with their good friend Eunavae Ballou Tuesday at the Pioneers Home. Staff members of the state-run assisted living facility have provided chairs outside for visitors to sit on while speaking over cell phones to residents inside the building in order to facilitate visits while lessening the possibility of spreading COVID-19, (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)  

Last of Big Cruise Ship Stops in Sitka Canceled

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer

Visit Sitka today announced the cancellation of the few stops still on the larger cruise ships’ schedule for this season.

“It’s just unfortunate that more of the cruise operators won’t be able to come this year,” said Rachel Roy, executive director of Visit Sitka and the Chamber of Commerce.

The cancellation of the stops by the Regatta and Seven Seas Mariner is due to Canada’s decision to extend its port closures to ships carrying more than 100 people through Oct. 31.

 While most cruise companies have already announced cancellations of all Alaska sailings for 2020, some Sitka port calls by large ships were still on the schedule for August and September.

Canada’s extension of its port closures changed that. Foreign flagged vessels are required by U.S. law to have at least one foreign port call on trips between Alaska ports, and the stops in Victoria or Vancouver, B.C., usually serve that purpose.

Oceana Cruises’ Regatta (684 passengers) had planned two calls here in August, and two in September. Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner (700 passengers) had three port calls set for August, and three in September.

A number of small cruise ships of 100 passengers or fewer are still on the Sitka schedule, with the first set to arrive July 4.

“We’re still hopeful for our Alaska-based operators, to see a few visitors on ships,” Roy said.

That includes Alaskan Dream Cruises vessels, operated by Allen Marine Inc. of Sitka, and the National Geographic ships Sea Bird and Venture. 

Roy said bookings are currently high for the 2021 visitor season.

“We’re anticipating a really full season next year,” she said.

“Bookings are really strong for next season,” agreed Fred Reeder, port director for Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska. “People like cruising.”

Roy said she and her staff are getting a number of calls from independent visitors planning Alaska trips, including those from around the U.S. and within the state. Some visit Sitka every year, and are keeping their plans, she said.

In an ordinary year, 17 percent of visitors to Sitka are not on cruise ships.

“We’re reaching out to our operators to reach out to us and tell us their modified operation schedule,” Roy said. “There’s definitely folks wanting to come here. We’ll connect them with opportunities for experiences.”

The visitor center will open officially on July 1 on Lake Street, the same location as the Chamber of Commerce office.

 

 

 

 

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 11-27-20)

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 12:15 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 724

Total statewide – 29,554

Total (cumulative) deaths – 118

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 678

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 39

Hospitalizations in Sitka – 3

Cumulative Sitka cases – 188 (167 resident; 21 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 149 cumulative

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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20 YEARS AGO
November 2000

Photo caption: Robin Bergey and her baby, Kate, and Holly Samuelson join much of Sitka and the rest of America this morning in shopping for day-after-Thanksgiving Day sales. Holiday decorations are up around town, and shopping bargains are being offered.

50 YEARS AGO
November 1970

Telephone communications in Southeast Alaska were considerably advanced this month by the inauguration of a new microwave system between Juneau (Lena Point) and Sitka.Completed July 17, 1970, by RCA Alaska Communications, the system will become a major segment of the long lines of telecommunications operations in Alaska.

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