Provincial update on COVID-19 initiatives
Working together, the Province of Prince Edward Island is making immediate investments to support Islanders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, the province provided updates on key initiatives to support community including enhanced rural internet initiatives and funding for non-profit organizations.
“We continue to speak with Islanders, industry, community partners, and all levels of government to understand how we can come together to help one another during this time of uncertainty. The programs and financial supports we have put in place so far are quickly getting in to the hands of Islanders and we will continue to find ways to support Islanders now and through the long-term. Together, we will get through this.”
- Premier Dennis King
Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew MacKay provided an update on the Employee Gift Card Program announced earlier this week. The eligibility for the program has been expanded to include any Islander laid off between March 13 -31 regardless of their hourly wage.
Minister MacKay also announced the expansion of the PEI Broadband Fund to support equipment and installation of Mi-Fi units and Wi-Fi Signal Boosters for businesses and the self-employed.
“Islanders across the province are now working from home based on the direction of the Chief Public Health Officer to practice social distancing; however, we know that working from home creates challenges for Islanders with varying internet connectivity,” said Minister MacKay. “We need to continue to look at ways in which we can make this transition as easy as possible for Islanders and the expansion of the PEI Broadband Fund is one such way we can do that.”
The province will continue to work with businesses, industry and the Partnership for Growth to assess the level of impact to the business community and implement initiatives to better position businesses and the economy to recover quickly after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, Steven Myers also announced plans to provide further limited access at government liquor stores in Montague and Summerside (Granville Street location) to help address the needs of Islanders at risk of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. PEI Cannabis stores Island-wide remain closed. Cannabis products are available for purchase online and will continue to be.
As well, Minister Myers provided an update that all Access PEI locations will remain closed to the public until at least Tuesday, April 14.
Social Development and Housing Minister Ernie Hudson announced that the Islanders Helping Islanders Volunteer Services Directory is now available online and can be accessed at princeedwardisland.ca/islandershelp. The directory was an all-party collaboration led by MLAs Cory Deagle (Montague-Kilmuir), Lynne Lund (Summerside-Wilmot) and Gordon McNeilly (Charlottetown- West Royalty). The online resource community services and supports available in each of the 27 electoral districts. The directory will continue to grow and any organization wishing to add their services should contact their local MLA.
“It is important that we look after one another in times like this while keeping ourselves safe,” said Minister Hudson. “This directory will be an effective tool to connect those wishing to help with those members of our community who are in need. We will draw on our strong community ties and rely on one another to ensure the well-being and inclusion of Islanders, particular those that are most vulnerable.”
Minister Hudson also confirmed that the Community Outreach Centre in Charlottetown has temporarily relocated to Birchwood Intermediate School while schools are closed in an effort to follow the directions of the Chief Public Health Office to practice social distancing. Minister Hudson also reiterated that clients of social assistance, Accessability supports and other department services will see no impact to their services. Non-government organizations will still receive their core funding as well.
The Province of Prince Edward Island reminds Islanders that we all have a responsibility to support one another particularly in this difficult and stressful time. Anyone experiencing family violence or who knows of family violence taking place can find resources at princeedwardisland.ca/familyviolenceprevention.
For general information and questions, please call 1-833-533-9333 or visit www.princeedwardisland.ca/COVID19.
Supports for workers, the self-employed and small business
As of March 27, through the COVID-19 Emergency Contingency Fund:
- Emergency Income Relief Fund for the self-employed
- 500 applications approved ($500,000)
- Emergency Working Capital Financing for small business;
- 42 loans approved ($1.725 million)
- 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
- 92 applications approved for 500 workers ($113,750)
- Employee Gift Card Program to support employees who have been laid off.
- 768 applications received for 3,827 total gift cards ($382,700).
Supports for community non-profit organizations
The Province of Prince Edward Island has provided $250,000 to the United Way of Prince Edward Island to support community non-profits with COVID specific needs. So far, 25 applications have been received and 14 organizations have been approved for funding, a total of almost $70,000.
Supports for Islanders experiencing homelessness
If you or someone you know needs a place to sleep, call the temporary shelter support line at 1-833-220-4722.
Government Operations Update
Access PEI locations
While Access PEI locations remain closed to the public, questions and inquiries can be made between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm at the following locations:
Charlottetown Access PEI
Summerside Access PEI (French language services)
O'Leary Access PEI
Souris Access PEI
Due to the current closure of the Access PEI, there is a 60-day grace period on vehicle registrations and drivers’ license renewals. Motor vehicle renewals can also be done online.
Also, expiring motor vehicle inspections on passenger vehicles are extended for 60 days. Islanders are asked to exercise due diligence and insure your vehicle is safe to drive.
All Highway Safety related permits, licenses or requirements to submit documents have been extended by 60 days.
Government Liquor Store hours of operation (3 locations)
Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday
10 am to 11 am for seniors and Islanders with comprised immunity
11 am to 6 pm for general public
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs