Department of Business Update – May 4th, 2020

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CHANGES TO PUBLIC HEALTH PROTECTION ORDER AND LIFTING OF SOME RESTRICTIONS

On Friday, Premier MacNeil and Dr. Strang announced the lifting of some restrictions that are in place as part of the initial steps in province’s recovery plan.  The measured approach will ensure we don’t undo the progress we have seen over the past few weeks in the public health response to COVID-19.

 

Details on these adjustments can be found at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restriction-updates/

 

A phased plan to further lift public health restrictions is under development.  Further easing of restrictions will be done carefully and cautiously and when it is safe to do so, to minimize the chances of having to restrict things again.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES REMAIN IN PLACE

Existing public health directives around social distancing and social gatherings remain in place – outdoor activities should be done with only those who you live with.  Nova Scotians are reminded to maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance from others.

 

While shopping, Nova Scotians are reminded that there should only be limited, essential shopping done by one family member.  Nova Scotians can also consider using non-medical masks when out in public.  Good hygiene practices continue to be a key part of our defence.   Businesses are asked to ensure they are following health and safety good practices.  The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety offers useful information https://www.ccohs.ca/products/publications/covid19/

 

The ability to open things up further depends on whether these first steps are done safely, and if Nova Scotians continue to follow public health advice and directives.   The last thing anyone wants is to undo the progress that collectively we have made.

 

 

STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED

The province is renewing the state of emergency for another two weeks under the authority of the Emergency Management Act for the protection of the health and safety of Nova Scotians. The order will take effect at noon Sunday, May 3 and extend to noon Sunday, May 17, unless government terminates or extends it.

 

 

CAPE BRETON FOOD HUB CO-OPERATIVE

The Cape Breton Food Hub Co-operative is now providing a distribution link to make it easier for local producers to get their products into the hands of local consumers and chefs.  To support vendors of the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market while the market is closed, the Cape Breton Food Hub Co-operative will sell vendors’ items using a no contact home delivery model. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with many new households starting to order through the hub, and food producers are reporting an increase in sales from the same time last year.

 

In addition, the Food Hub Co-operative will deliver free weekly orders of nutritious local food to 25 Cape Breton residents, made possible through federal funding from the Community Food Centres of Canada.

 

More information on the Cape Breton Food Hub is available at https://www.capebretonfoodhub.com/

 

 

UPDATE ON VIRTUAL SCHOOL MEAL PROGRAM

Today marks three weeks since the pilot was launched April 10. Now available in four communities in Cape Breton, the pilot is at full capacity with approximately 1,000 students registered. Daily meal deliveries have reached over 500 per day, and so far the pilot has delivered 5,114 meals, made possible by the many volunteers who help with deliveries.

 

Collaborations within the communities continue to develop.  On Friday, each community received non-perishable lunches for the weekend, thanks to Undercurrent Youth Centre in Glace Bay. Next weekend, the youth centre will host a giant community pizza party to get food and mental health support and programming into the hands of youth. Local pizza shops are prepping kits and families will take them home on Sunday.

 

 

EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Nova Scotia is contributing $9 million to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses program. In partnership with the federal government, the program will provide rent relief for commercial small businesses that have temporarily ceased operations or lost at least 70% of their revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The program will be delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and will be available later this month.

 

 

UPDATED SCHEDULE FOR COVID-19 BRIEFINGS – REMINDER

Briefings with the Premier and Dr. Strang will now be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Government will continue to issue daily news releases on new cases of COVID-19.

PROVINCIAL SUPPORTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The provincial government has announced several initiatives to address cash flow and access to credit for small and medium sized businesses in Nova Scotia:

 

  • The COVID-19 Small Business Credit and Support program helps small businesses affected by COVID-19. Eligible business with payrolls of less than $20,000  can get a loan of up to $25,000 through participating provincial credit unions, as well as an up front grant of 10% of the loan (up to $1,500) and a voucher to hire a consultant to help your business adapt to, or recover from COVID-19.  There is up to $20 million available to fund this new, temporary program.

 

  • Payment deferrals until June 30 on all government loans, including those under the Farm Loan Board, Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, Jobs Fund, Nova Scotia Business Fund, Municipal Finance Corp. and Housing Nova Scotia.

 

  • Fees, including business renewal fees and workers compensation premiums, will be deferred to June 30.  A list of applicable fees is posted online.

 

  • Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through 16 provincial Credit Unions, include deferring principal and interest payments until June 30.

 

  • The Small Business Impact Grant provides a one-time grant equal to 15% of revenue from sales, either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000 to eligible small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises who have had to close or greatly reduce operations because of the public health order.  Application deadline was April 25.

 

  • The COVID-19 Rent Deferral Guarantee Program indemnified qualified landlords for losses incurred as a result of granting a rent deferral to qualified businesses directly impacted by the Health Protection Act orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Application deadline was April 3.

 

 

USEFUL RESOURCES

Provincial website: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

 

Follow the Department of Business on Twitter – @NS_DoB

Follow Nova Scotia government on Instagram – nsgov

 

To watch today’s (and previous) live webcasts visit: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwLZ9YtgHtLCpATUVFKVf72xyF103eHaE

 

Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

 

Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397

 

Government Business Navigators:  More information on this service is available https://novascotia.ca/regulatoryopportunity/business-navigators.asp. Navigators are available by calling or 1-844-628-7347 , 902-424-4475 Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm or by email BusNavigation@novascotia.ca

 

 

SUMMARY OF PROVINCIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Refer to novascotia.ca/news for full details

 

May 1                    Announcement includes:

State of emergency extended until Sunday, May 17

  • Province has started to lift some restrictions, including the opening of trails and parks.  Golf driving ranges can open, as can garden centres.
  • Plans to develop a phased plan to lift additional restrictions is under development

April 28                Announcement includes:

  • Schools and licensed day cares will be closed until at least May long weekend.
  • $380 million loan program to support municipalities with financial losses due to COVID-19

April 24                 Announcement includes:

  • Temporary extensions to Driver Licenses, Inspections and Vehicle Permit Renewals
  • New supports for business include COVID-19 Small Business Credit and Support stream, virtual business support hub with post-secondary institutions and NS participation with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses

April 22                 Announcements include:

  • Government will pay extra dispensing fees for Pharmacare clients for refills on prescriptions usually filled for longer periods
  • Red Cross Nova Scotia Stronger Together fund announced

April 17                 Announcements include:

  • State of Emergency is extended to May 3, 2020
  • NSP, EfficiencyOne and the province redirecting $3 million from the HomeWarming program to fund organizations that support vulnerable Nova Scotians

April 9                   Announcements include:

      • Province recorded its second death from COVID-19
      • Applications for Small Business Impact Grant and Workers Emergency Bridge will be available tomorrow, April 10, at 8 a.m.
      • Private campgrounds are closed until May 1, inclusive. Will be reassessed.
      • Only veterinarians working with the SPCA may carry out spay and neuter surgeries
      • 211 will launch a new service to connect people needing COVID-19 assistance with the Canadian Red Cross
      • Workers in the fishing and offshore industries must self-isolate when they enter the province
      • Nova Scotia Securities Commission launches COVID-19 Investing Information website

April 7                   Announcement includes:

  • Province records its first death from COVID-19

April 6                   Announcement includes:

      • Travel is removed from testing requirements
      • Testing Lab has moved to round-the-clock operations

April 2                 State of Emergency is extended to April 19, 2020

Announcement includes:

      • COVID-19 Worker Emergency Bridge – $20 million
      • Small Business COVID-19 Impact Grant – $20 million
      • Map and graphs of COVID-19 test results is now online at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data

March 30             Announcement includes:

      • Schools closed until May 1. Online and paper-based learning strategies are being developed to support student learning
      • Employer Assessment Tool to help businesses and non-profits clarify if they can remain open and how to comply with public health orders and workplace safety requirements added online.

March 27             Announcement includes:

  • Support for landlords who enter into a rent deferral agreement with their commercial tenants
  • Restaurants can now include alcohol in their take-out and delivery sales
  • Government has purchased 800 iPads for use in long term care facilities

March 26             Announcement includes:

  • COVID testing is being expanded to include:
      • Anyone referred by 811 to an assessment centre
      • All close contacts of people who test positive
      • People in hospital that meet the criteria for testing
  • Reservations for 2020 camping season are on hold until further notice
  • Open fires for any purpose in woods or within 305 metres of woods in any part of the province are banned until May 15

March 24             Announcement include:

      • Measures to strengthen the health system, help Nova Scotians dealing with COVID-19
      • Access Centres and Registry of Motor Vehicle Offices to resume operations in a scaled back, limited contact business model.
      • Regulated health professions can stay open for emergency or urgent care or to provide virtual care as long as they meet social distancing requirements
      • Non-regulated health professions must close (with exception of podiatrists)

March 22             State of Emergency declared

March 21             Dentists can no longer practice dentistry in their offices unless deemed necessary to perform an emergency dental procedure

March 18             Announcement re: Personal Services and fitness establishments

  • Includes: hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, body art establishments, gyms

March 17             No public gatherings of more than 50 people

Announcements re: restaurants

  • Only take-out and delivery permitted
  • Drinking establishments, winery and distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms closed
  • Private liquor stores permitted to be open, and craft breweries, wineries and distilleries can still sell storefront

Access Nova Scotia closed

March 15             Announcements include

  • Long-term care closed effective immediately
  • Public schools and regulated childcare closed

Social distancing – 2 meters/6 feet, gatherings of less than 150 or much smaller if possible