Province provides help for businesses, funding available for better Internet access

One more case of Novel Coronavirus confirmed

HALIFAX: Premier Stephen McNeil, Minister of Business Geoff MacLellan and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, today announced measures to help Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia businesses dealing with COVID-19.

Effective immediately, government will invest $161 million to address cash flow and access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses in Nova Scotia.

Government will defer payments until June 30 for: 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; and small business fees, including business renewal fees and workers compensation premiums (a list of fees will be posted on-line early next week).

Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through credit unions, include: deferring principal and interest payments until June 30; enhancing the program to make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000; and those who might not qualify for a loan, government will guarantee the first $100,000.

Further measures include: small businesses which do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days; suspending payments on Nova Scotia student loans for six months, from March 30 to September 30 and students do not have to apply; and ensuring more Nova Scotians can access the internet to work from home, by providing $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative and complete them as soon as possible.

As of today, Nova Scotia has five confirmed cases and 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 15.

One new case was identified yesterday (March 19). It is travel-related.

The cases are located across the province. The 15 individuals affected range in age from mid-20’s to mid-70’s.

Public health has been in contact with these individuals and is working to identify others who may have come in close contact with them. Those individuals are also being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

The province is testing daily, working with partners at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. To date, Nova Scotia has 1,546 negative test results, 10 presumptive positive cases and five confirmed cases.

Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. Those who have been in close contact with someone who has travelled and are experiencing fever (above 38 degrees Celsius) and/or new cough you should complete the on-line questionnaire before calling 811. The on-line questionnaire can be found at: https://811.novascotia.ca/.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus.

Testing numbers are updated daily at: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus.

Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19

Government business navigators: https://novascotia.ca/regulatoryopportunity/contact.asp.

Nova Scotia Health Authority: https://www.nshealth.ca.

IWK Health Centre: http://www.iwk.nshealth.ca/.  The Public Health Agency of Canada maintains a list of affected areas: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/covid-19-affected-areas-list.html.

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

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

Nova Scotia Public Health offices: http://www.nshealth.ca/public-health-offices.