Nova Scotia announces rent-deferral program for small businesses, iPads for seniors

Nova Scotia small businesses struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic are getting help from the provincial government.

At a press briefing Friday, Premier Stephen McNeil announced a three-month rent-deferral program for small business operators who are forced to close under the Public Health order.

Landlords will be asked to sign a rent-deferral agreement, McNeil said, and government will guarantee up to $5,000 a month if that business goes under.

“The hope here is that these businesses will be able to come back even stronger,” McNeil said. “But if not, we want to reduce the risk on the landlord.”

McNeil says the hope is to have the commercial landlord work with its tenants to arrange new terms on how the money can be paid back.

“If this business fails and can’t afford that, we will make sure we cover the three months we’ve asked you to defer,” McNeil said. “We believe this provides some security for the commercial landlord.”

McNeil also announced Friday that restaurants left doing only takeout and delivery can now include alcohol with purchases.

17 new cases, bringing total to 90

The province announced that 17 new cases of COVID-19 were identified on Thursday, bringing Nova Scotia’s total to 90.

The province says “most” of the new cases are connected to travel or a known case.

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The 90 individuals affected range in age from under 10 to their mid-70s. Health officials say two are currently in hospital and three individuals have now recovered.

Cases have been identified in all parts of the province.

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