(Updated 5:28 p.m. EDT) -- Just two days after the first ship of the season set sail in Alaska, the state has announced sweeping new changes to its COVID-19 testing policy for out-of-state visitors that could dramatically curb tourism there.Starting on Tuesday, August 11 -- eight days from now -- the State of Alaska will begin requiring all non-resident travelers to take and pass a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before they arrive.Previously, the State of Alaska allowed travelers to be tested at the airport for COVID-19; to obtain a COVID-negative molecular PCR test up to five days prior to arrival; or to quarantine upon arrival. Those options will now be eliminated as of August 11.The new regulations now mandate that the only way for travelers to successfully enter Alaska will be to present proof of a COVID-negative PCR test prior to arrival.Travelers will also be required to complete a declaration prior to arrival.Exact details about the policy shift, which was announced on July 28 by Alaska state governor Mike Dunleavy, were still not available on the
as of this writing.The more restrictive regulations could make it harder for travel of any kind to take place in Alaska this year.On Saturday, Seattle-based small-ship operator UnCruise Adventures restarted its first voyages since the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic began. Sailing aboard the 60-passenger Wilderness Adventurer from Juneau, UnCruise became the first line U.S-based cruise line to restart, and the only operator to actually run cruises to Alaska in a year that has seen cruise traffic in the popular region fall to zero for the first time."We have been in touch with all booked guests that are affected to make them aware of the change in requirements, along with providing support with testing options," an UnCruise spokesperson tells Cruise Critic. "We have found that testing continues to improve and we've worked with some testing companies that we have found to have a reliable turn-around time of 28-32 hours."Cruise Critic will update this story as more information becomes available.