**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release
Measures to Help Citizens, Businesses Affected by COVID-19
Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, gave an update today, April 2, on efforts to help Nova Scotians dealing with COVID-19.
“Our small businesses and those who are self-employed have always been at the heart of our economy but now that COVID-19 is here, layoffs and closures have slowed the pace of our economy,” said Premier McNeil. “Our economic support plan has added two new programs that will put more than $40 million in the pockets of those out of work and small businesses affected by COVID-19. The goal is to begin processing applications early next week – to get cash out the door as quickly as possible.”
New measures announced today:
— a $20 million Worker Emergency Bridge Fund to help the self-employed and those laid-off workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance. Government will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment, to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit
— $20 million to fund a new program — the Small Business Impact Grant. Eligible small businesses and social enterprises will receive a grant of 15 per cent of their gross revenues — either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. This flexible, one-time, upfront grant can be used for any purpose necessary
Today’s announcements, totalling $40 million, will come out of a new $50 million fund that will be administered by Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Eligibility for the programs is not affected by a person or business being enrolled in another provincial program or the federal initiatives.
An announcement on when the programs are ready for applications will come early next week.
Other measures announced today include:
— the current state of emergency is extended until noon, April 19
— a new extended hours phone line has been set up for people wanting information on income assistance eligibility from the Department of Community Services. Call toll-free 1-833-722-1417 from Monday to Friday 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During regular business hours, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. call the regular toll-free line at 1-877-424-1177.
To date, Nova Scotia has 7,446 negative test results and 193 confirmed cases. Those cases range in age from under 10 to over 80. A map and graphic presentation of the case data is now available at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data .
“As I have said before, we have cases in all parts of the province,” said Dr. Strang. “So it is imperative that all Nova Scotians follow the public health directives and orders – practise good hygiene, keep a distance of two metres or six feet away from others, limit essential gatherings to five or fewer people, and self-isolate for 14 days after travel or if you have come in contract with a known case.”
Anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better. If they are concerned about COVID-19 they can go to http://811.novascotia.ca/ and use the online assessment tool. Anyone referred to an assessment site by 811 will be tested.
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .
— testing numbers are updated daily at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19
Government of Canada: http://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397