Eddie Blackwood, the borough’s animal protection department director, pets one of the adoptable cats available at the shelter in this 2014 file photo. (Leila Kheiry/KRBD)

Ketchikan’s animal shelter reopened Tuesday. Residents can now drop off an animal, adopt a new pet or retrieve a stray. But they’ll have to make an appointment and wear a mask when going to the shelter. That’s according to a statement from the Ketchikan borough manager’s office.

The shelter had been closed to the public since last month as part of the wider effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Animal Protection Director Edward Blackwood said in a phone interview that they’re now taking appointments.

“The decision was made to reopen the shelter based upon what other shelters were doing in the state and also the fact that we had come up with a way to safely interact with potential adopters in a safe manner that was still in line with the governor’s mandates,” Blackwood said.

He said the shelter has adopted strict protections to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Employees will be wearing masks and gloves.

“And we require when people make an appointment to either adopt an animal or surrender an animal that they also bring their own masks with them, and then we supply them with gloves,” Blackwood said.

In addition, Blackwood said residents can view the animals and submit adoption paperwork at the borough’s website. He says shelter staff will review those applications and call residents back to set up an adoption appointment. People can also call the shelter.

Blackwood said the shelter still isn’t taking visitors or volunteers yet.

But the shelter will resume retrieving stray animals, according to the borough’s statement. An appointment is required as only one patron is allowed inside at a time. Hours of operation are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

To request assistance with a stray animal, surrender an animal or claim an animal brought in by animal control, residents can call 228-6660.