Province announces supports for tourism industry, expansion of Island producers initiative
Today, the Province of Prince Edward Island announced initial supports for the Island’s tourism industry in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Initiatives include new financing options, interest relief, and additional funding for marketing. In total, up to $66 million in support will be provided to meet the immediate needs of the tourism industry.
“This time of year is typically a busy one for our tourism operators as they would be preparing to showcase our Island’s culture and hospitality to millions of travelers but this year is anything but normal as we deal with the world-wide economic downturn due to COVID-19. Our government has been working with our tourism industry to address the immediate needs, develop short-term strategies to adapt and determine long-term plans to ensure Prince Edward Island’s reputation as a top tourist destination can be maintained going forward.”
- Premier Dennis King
Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew Mackay announced a new $50 million tourism assistance loan facility through Finance PEI, with maximum financing of up to $1 million at 4 per cent interest available for working capital. Both the principal payments on the loan, as well as interest, will be deferred for the first 18 months.
Additionally, Minister MacKay announced that the province will provide interest relief on existing loans to tourism business for up to 18 months.
Recognizing the need to support the tourism industry’s quick recovery, Minister MacKay announced $1 million towards expanded marketing. As well, the province is waiving the licensing, inspection and Tourism PEI advertising fees for the 2020 operating season.
Non-profit organizations that have received funding from Tourism PEI and/or the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for events that have been canceled as a result of COVID-19 will be fully compensated for all eligible expenses.
The Province of Prince Edward Island continues to work with its federal counterparts to initiate new programs and expand existing programs to support seasonal workers, including those in the tourism industry.
“Our tourism sector has been hard hit due to COVID-19 and is facing many challenges as our country and the world implements measures to protect the health and safety of citizens,” said Minister MacKay. “There is not a simple solution or a crystal ball to figure out when we will get back to normal or what our new normal will look like but tourism operators should know that the provincial government is here for you and that we will work with you to make sure you can continue to operate and contribute to what makes Prince Edward Island so special.”
Minister of Agriculture and Land Bloyce Thompson announced the expansion of the successful Island Producers Helping Producers initiative to support rural Islanders in need. The initiative is a partnership of the Province of Prince Edward Island, Amalgamated Dairies Limited (ADL) and the PEI Potato Board.
Westisle Composite High School (39570 Western Road, Elmsdale)
Bluefield High School (924 Colville Road, North Wiltshire)
Rodd Brudenell River Resort (86 Dewars Lane, Cardigan)
To support physical distancing, Islanders are asked to remain in their vehicles while volunteers place the care package in the trunk.
The Province is reaching out to community groups that support vulnerable Islanders who may not have transportation and will work with them to set aside packages for those in need, when possible.
“As Islanders, we are generous and caring by nature and our Island producers take pride in their ability to help feed Island families,” said Minister Thompson. “During this difficult and uncertain time, it has been no different and Islanders continue to offer their help to friends, neighbours and our communities. By working together, supporting each other, and following the lead of the Chief Public Health Officer, we will get through this crisis and come out stronger because of it.”
The Island Producers Helping Islanders initiative is intended to help Islanders and families in need; however, it is open to everyone. Islanders interested in making a donation in light of the free care package may do so online to a local charity of their choice.
Minister Thompson reminded Islanders that at any time, littering and dumping is illegal. While Island Waste Management Corporation sites continue to be closed to the public, regularly scheduled garbage pick-up continues. Islanders are able to include two additional bags with their carts, as always, and blue bag collection is still on schedule.
The Province also announced that in consultation with the Fire Marshal’s Office, all outdoor burning is prohibited on Prince Edward Island effective immediately. This includes recreational campfires unless the fire is contained in a fire pit with spark arrester screen or has a chimney with spark arrester.
The ban is in place to keep volunteer and government fire fighters safe as they are essential workers and almost all wildland fires on Prince Edward Island are the result of fires that have escaped from a controlled burn.
Existing 2020 burning permits issued by the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change and the Fire Marshal’s Office are also suspended until further notice and no new permits will be issued.
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Premier
Additional supports for tourism operators previously announced:
- Private sector wage subsidies through the Jobs for Youth and Post-Secondary Employment Program have been increased from 50 per cent to 75 per cent.
- Business Adaptation Advice Program covers the cost for businesses and entrepreneurs to hire a professional to provide advice and support on how to adapt or recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
- Property tax and fee payment deferral to December 2020.
- Employee Gift Card Program to support employees who have been laid off.
Island Producers Helping Islanders community partner quotes:
"ADL is proud to partner with the provincial government and the PEI Potato Board to provide quality PEI dairy products to Islanders that need them the most through this pandemic,” said Jamie MacPhail, ADL Corporate Secretary and Communications Lead. "By working together and supporting each other Islanders will get through this crisis together and be stronger because of it."
“We are happy to be participating in this special initiative to help fellow Islanders,” said Pownal potato farmer and PEI Potato Board Chairman Jason Hayden. “Potatoes are a nutritious, versatile food providing great year-round value, while also being a comfort food. We know many Islanders are making sacrifices to help protect each other and get through the COVID-19 situation as safely and as quickly as possible, and these care packages are a small token of our appreciation this weekend.”