COVID-19 round-up for Wednesday, May 20 – the borderline…feels like I’m going to lose my mind edition

New Brunswick – Maintaining its winning streak, there were no new cases of COVID-19 to announce in the province today, making it two full weeks virus free.  All previously reported cases have recovered resulting in no active cases in New Brunswick.

“Our success has come at a price which we all have paid,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province, Dr. Jennifer Russell.

“We are all aware of the economic costs, the impact that the state of emergency has had on many businesses, entrepreneurs, and employees.

“And that sacrifice that so many of you have made has made our success against COVID-19 possible, and for that you have my undying gratitude,” she added.

As of today, 21,144 tests have been conducted, which amounts to 2.72 per cent of the population.

Russell reminded New Brunswickers one of the keys to the provincial success in handling COVID-19 is keeping the borders closed. “Border restrictions remain in place and are a key element of our success in controlling the spread of the virus,” she said.

The latest updates and information on confirmed COVID-19 cases and laboratory testing in New Brunswick are available online.

NB Premier Blaine Higgs today announced a wage top up for designated essential and front-line workers in the province.  The top up will be $500 per month for a duration of 16 weeks to those designated employees who earn $18 per month on less.

Those eligible for the funding include employees in:

  • early learning and child care facilities
  • home support
  • special care homes, community residences and group homes
  • homeless shelters and food banks
  • domestic violence outreach and transition homes

All other sectors will be paid retroactively from March 19 to July 9.

Higgs said 50 per cent of child care and early learning centres opened on Tuesday, May 19, and he expects to see the number reach closer to 80 per cent by June 1.

Higgs also discussed New Brunswick’s borders, and his intention to keep said borders closed. 
“All necessary travel to New Brunswick is prohibited,” said Higgs.

“Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Maine all have active cases of COVID-19.  Now is not the time for New Brunswick to take unnecessary risks, undoing all the hard work it took to get us to this point.

“By pushing against restrictions you’re endangering not only yourself, but your family, your friends, and your fellow New Brunswickers,” he added.

Higgs said while some travel is necessary, like employment or healthcare, those who do not have a valid reason to enter the province will be turned away.

Finally, Higgs said the United Way would be selling T-shirts which say Stepping up for my New Brunswick / Faire ma part pour mon Nouveau-Brunswick with proceeds going to support mental health initiatives in New Brunswick.

Orders can be placed by contacting United Way offices in Fredericton, Moncton or Saint John.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.

From outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the creation of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program.  This program will provide forgivable loans to landlords so they can reduce rent for small business tenants by 75 per cent, providing those small businesses have lost the majority of their revenue because of COVID-19.

Details on what information landlords and tenants will need when the application portal opens on Monday, May 25 can be found at CMHC.ca

“Our government, along with the provinces and territories, will cover 50 per cent of the rent,” said Trudeau.  “We’re asking that landlords absorb 25 per cent and tenants pay the rest with the support of programs like the CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account),” he added.

For application portals, funding eligibility, information on the various Canada Emergency benefits and details on COVID-19 nationally, go to www.canada.ca

editor@stcroixcourier.ca