COVID Update for CANS Members — December 22, 2021
Updated Provincial COVID Restrictions
The NS provincial government is strengthening restrictions around masking, gatherings and physical distancing to protect the healthcare system and other critical workforces from the threat of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. These new restrictions took effect on Wednesday, December 22 at 6:00 a.m. and remain in place until January 12, 2022.
- Physical distance of two metres (six feet) is required indoors and outdoors, except among people in the same household or a consistent social group of up to 10 people;
- Masks are required in areas of workplaces where physical distance cannot be achieved, as well as common areas, areas where people are serving the public and areas with poor ventilation;
- Only virtual events are allowed – there are no in-person events such as festivals, social events, special events (including receptions), sports games or tournaments, or arts and culture performances;
- Individuals, businesses and organizations all have responsibility for ensuring mask requirements are followed and can all be subject to enforcement action.
Federal Funding Support for Businesses
On December 22, the federal government announced an expansion to two of their support programs for businesses and individuals. These updated regulations will apply from December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022, during which time it is expected that public health authorities will continue to implement “circuit-breaker” restrictions that limit the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 across Canada.
- Expanding the Local Lockdown Program to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50% or more.
- The revenue decline threshold has been lowered from 40% to 25% for eligible employers to receive wage and rent subsidy support.
- Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies from 25% up to a maximum of 75%, depending on their degree of revenue loss.
- The 12-month revenue decline test continues to not be required in order to access this support. Employers only need to demonstrate revenue loss during the current month compared with 2019.
- Expanding the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions.
- If you are working in a region where the provincial or territorial government has introduced capacity restrictions with 50% or more, and if you have lost 50% or more of your income as a direct result of those restrictions, you can qualify.
- This benefit will provide workers with $300 per week to supplement lost wages.
Provincial Funding Support Available for Businesses
Announced on December 17, “the Sector Impact Support Program will provide a one-time grant of up to $7,500 to help small business owners in industries such as restaurants, bars, gyms, live performing arts facilities and recreation facilities. The Sector Impact Support Program will be funded through the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Response Council. It is expected to cost about $10 million depending on participation. Applications will open in early January.” Read more about the Sector Impact Support Program.