Alaska lawmaker Lora Reinbold takes 39-hour ferry to the capital after aviation mask ban

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A state legislature in Alaska has taken a nearly 40-hour car and ferry ride to the capital after being banned from the route’s sole airline due to a dispute over mask rules.

State senator Lora Reinbold completed her journey of more than 500 miles from Anchorage to Juneau on Sunday, in time to vote against a major bill extending the pandemic emergency in Alaska.

Reinbold, a Republican from Eagle River, a suburb of Anchorage, was caught on camera last week arguing with Alaska Airline employees, who appeared to warn her that the surgical mask she was wearing should cover her nose.

The state legislature maintained in a statement that she had been “ respectful ” to the airline’s policies, darkly insinuating that the ban was part of a plot to prevent her from voting against the disaster law.

State Senator Lora Reinbold is pictured completing her over 500 mile ferry journey from Anchorage to Juneau on Sunday after being banned from Alaska Airlines

State Senator Lora Reinbold is pictured completing her over 500 mile ferry journey from Anchorage to Juneau on Sunday after being banned from Alaska Airlines

Last week, Reinbold (third from right) was filmed in a mask policy dispute with Alaska Airlines personnel.  The airline later said it had been banned from flights indefinitely

Last week, Reinbold (third from right) was filmed in a mask policy dispute with Alaska Airlines personnel. The airline later said it had been banned from flights indefinitely

After the video of her at the airport appeared on social media, Alaska Airlines told local press that Reinbold had been banned from flights indefinitely – a ruling she says she was never notified of and plans to appeal. to go.

“I was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees,” Reinbold said, pointing out that she has MVP gold status with the airline. ‘I inquired about a mask exemption for tense employees at the desk.’

‘The timing of a complaint and a specific employee is very important. The most divisive disaster bill HB76 came out on Monday. I am sure this is under investigation, ”she added.

The video in question appears to have been shot in Juneau when Reinbold returned home last weekend, and she said she was allowed on the flight to Anchorage and wore a mask on the plane, despite a “ waiver. ”

“I respected Alaska Airlines policy. We had a pleasant safe flight with happy flight attendants and great talented pilots. I hope to be on an Alaska Airlines flight in the near future, ”she said.

On Sunday, Reinbold documented her triumphant return to Juneau on Facebook, posting a photo of herself and her husband Eric on the deck of a ferry approaching the capital.

On Sunday, Reinbold documented her triumphant return to Juneau on Facebook, posting photos of the ferry as it approached the capital.

On Sunday, Reinbold documented her triumphant return to Juneau on Facebook, posting photos of the ferry as it approached the capital.

The exact route Reinbold took was not clear, but ferries departing from Whittier, about an hour from Anchorage, take about 36 hours to reach Juneau

The exact route Reinbold took was not clear, but ferries departing from Whittier, about an hour from Anchorage, take about 36 hours to reach Juneau

Alaska I have taken to new heights to serve you and have a new appreciation for the marine ferry system. I am well aware of the air transport monopoly to Juneau that needs to be overhauled! she wrote.

“Thank my husband for giving up his birthday to take a long unexpected road / ferry trip to Juneau!” she added.

The exact route Reinbold took was not clear, but ferries departing from Whittier, about an hour from Anchorage, take about 36 hours to reach Juneau according to the ferry schedule.

Alaska Airlines, the only airline operating the route, has flights between Juneau and Anchorage that take approximately an hour and a half.

“Nothing could get in the way of fighting in the Capitol [the] violation of the executive power over the legislature and defending your rights by trying to stop HB76, which is on the Senate floor tomorrow! Reinbold added, referring to the disaster law.

On Monday, Reinbold appeared on the Senate floor of the state legislature, wearing an unusual clear plastic mask covering her nose and mouth.

On Monday, Reinbold appeared on the Senate floor of the state legislature, wearing an unusual clear plastic mask covering her nose and mouth.

On Monday, Reinbold appeared on the Senate floor of the state legislature, wearing an unusual clear plastic mask covering her nose and mouth.

Reinbold, seen Monday, has been criticized by Republican colleagues in the Senate over her unusual plastic mask, which they say does not meet guidelines

Reinbold, seen Monday, has been criticized by Republican colleagues in the Senate over her unusual plastic mask, which they say does not meet guidelines

Expanding the emergency powers of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, HB76 passed the equally divided state house but faces opposition in the Senate, where Republicans have a 13-7 majority.

The video of the encounter that apparently led to Reinbold’s flight ban appears to show that airline staff tell Reinbold that her mask should cover her nose and mouth. In a second video, Reinbold appears to be filming the staff.

“ We have informed Senator Lora Reinbold that she is not allowed to fly with us due to her continued refusal to comply with her employees’ instructions regarding current mask policies, ” Alaska Airlines said in response to the video.

Reinbold has been an outspoken opponent of Covid-19’s mitigation measures and has repeatedly objected to Alaska Airlines’ mask policy, which went into effect this year ahead of the federal government mandate.

Last year, she called Alaska Airlines personnel “ mask bullies ” after being asked by flight attendants to wear a mask on board a flight, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

After the incident, she reportedly sent a cake to several flight attendants with the inscription, “Sorry if I offended you.”

It is not the first time that Reinbold has sparked controversy over pandemic mitigation measures.

Reinbold has been an outspoken opponent of Covid-19's mitigation measures and has repeatedly objected to Alaska Airlines' mask policy, which went into effect this year ahead of the federal government mandate.

Last year, Reinbold called Alaska Airlines staff `` mask bullies '' after being asked by flight attendants to wear a mask on board a flight, the newspaper reported.

Reinbold has been an outspoken opponent of Covid-19’s mitigation measures and has repeatedly objected to Alaska Airlines’ mask policy, which went into effect this year ahead of the federal government mandate. Last year, she called Alaska Airlines personnel “ mask bullies ” after being asked by flight attendants to wear a mask on board a flight, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

In March, fellow Republican lawmakers accused her of violating COVID protocols and slammed her unique clear plastic mask, which they said violates masking guidelines.

The Senate held an 18-1 vote, which allowed the leadership to enforce COVID-19 mitigation policies on members “ until they are fully compliant. ” It was the first clear public sign of pushback by the leadership against Reinbold’s strange face shield.

Senate chairman Gary Stevens, a Kodiak Republican, said Reinbold also does not follow testing protocols or submit to temperature controls and questions that are standard for admission to the building.

“Inordinate” amounts of time have been spent “trying to reason” with her or supplying masks that meet the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said.

Senators on the floor don’t use each other’s names, but after recent metabolisms, including a back and forth between Reinbold and Senate President Peter Micciche before Wednesday’s session, it was clear who Stevens was talking about. Reinbold was not present at the vote.

Micciche later told reporters that things came to a head after COVID-19 cases related to the Capitol, including a person he says is close to him and has been hospitalized for the disease.

He said the legislature should make sure it can do its job, and staff have raised concerns about safety. While many people don’t like the rules, we recognize a responsibility to keep each other and our employees safe, ”he said.

“And we have zero tolerance right now for anyone who is unwilling to abide by those rules,” said Micciche, a Soldotna Republican.

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