Province announces additional income relief, stricter screening measures for travelers
Today, the Province of Prince Edward Island announced more financial support for Islanders whose income has been impacted as a direct result of the public health state of emergency, as well as additional protocols to keep Islanders safe.
The COVID-19 Income Support Program will help Islanders bridge the gap between their loss of income and Employment Insurance benefits or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This fund provides a one-time, taxable payment of $750.
“We have been working diligently, alongside the federal government, to deliver immediate supports to Islanders who have seen their incomes impacted by COVID-19. We are pleased our federal partners have been responsive, have heard our concerns for Islanders who may fall through the cracks, and that they are working with us to deliver supports that meet the specific needs of our communities. We recognize that these programs can take time to roll out and that is why our government continues to look at ways we can quickly support Islanders immediately.”
- Premier Dennis King
Islanders who, as of March 13, 2020, have lost their job or have been laid off, have had their Employment Insurance benefits expire and do not yet have a job to return to, or are self-employed and have lost all revenues through self-employment may be eligible.
To qualify, Islanders must:
- be 18 years of age or older;
- be a resident of Prince Edward Island as of December 31, 2019;
- have earned a minimum of $5,000 gross earnings in the last 12 months;
- lost their primary source of income because of COVID-19 and have no other income; and
- have applied for federal benefits (e.g. Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit).
“Our government continues to listen and work alongside our business community, our workers, and our community leaders to ensure that no Islander is left behind because of the impacts of this pandemic,” said Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew MacKay. “Our efforts will continue to put Islanders first and foremost so that we can weather this storm as best as possible.”
The provincial government also announced additional screening and enforcement measures at the Confederation Bridge for travelers arriving in Prince Edward Island. Starting this evening, everyone coming across the bridge will be stopped to determine if their travel to Prince Edward Island is considered essential based on guidelines set out by the Chief Public Health Officer earlier in the week. Non-Islanders traveling unnecessarily to the province for personal reasons will be asked to turn around.
“During a time when we are doing everything we can to flatten the curve and contain the spread of COVID-19 here at home, any unnecessary travel to our province is a concern that we all share,” said Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers. “Islanders should take comfort in knowing that, with the expert guidance of Dr. Morrison and her team, our government is taking action and putting measures in place with the sole intention of keeping Islanders safe as their health and well-being is our primary concern throughout all of this.”
Individuals will be screened through if they are:
- essential workers commuting for work;
- essential workers in the trade and transportation sectors who are moving goods and people across borders (such as truck drivers);
- Islanders returning from out-of-province travel, medical appointments or students returning home; and,
- Individuals coming on compassionate grounds.
Government confirmed that the liquor store in O’Leary is now providing limited access to address the needs of Islanders at risk of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The liquor store in Souris will be providing limited access starting tomorrow under the same conditions. Both stores will operate on the same limited as the other stores: 11am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday. Seniors and those with compromised immunity can shop at the stores from 10am to 11am.
Cannabis PEI stores will remain closed. Cannabis products are available for purchase online and will continue to be. The province encourages Islanders to purchase through the website and have products delivered to their homes.
Government indicated that it will be making a decision about the future of this year’s provincial recreational fishing season by April 13 as it works with the Chief Public Health Office to ensure the overall health and safety of Islanders is maintained and all measures are being taken contain the spread of COVID-19.
Other Supports for workers, the self-employed and small business:
- Emergency Income Relief Fund for the self-employed.
- Emergency Working Capital Financing loan program for small business.
- Emergency Relief Worker Assistance Program for employers to provide temporary financial support to their employees who have experienced a significant reduction in their hours of work.
- Employee Gift Card Program to support employees who have been laid off.
- PEI Broadband Fund expansion to support equipment and installation of Mi-Fi units and Wi-Fi Signal Boosters for businesses and the self-employed working from home.
- Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program to support small and medium-sized businesses by working with landlords to defer rent payments.
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Premier