P.E.I. premier outlines steps Island businesses must take in preparing to reopen
'These are critical to all phases of the renew P.E.I. plan and may require businesses to adapt'
Businesses navigating the province's ease-back plan have been directed to follow four key steps as they prepare to reopen their doors in Phase 2, said P.E.I. Premier Dennis King at a Wednesday afternoon news briefing.
The first step, King said, is to review the ease-back plan and its phased approach.
Next, Island businesses are being asked to review the principles and guidelines for the ease-back plan on the province's renew P.E.I. website.
Those principles, King said, include things like standards for cleanliness, payment methods and ensuring the safety and well-being of employees.
"These are critical to all phases of the renew P.E.I. plan, and may require businesses to adapt from their pre-COVID operating practices," he said.
King said the Chief Public Health Office will be working on sector-specific guidelines and publishing them as soon as they have been fully developed.
The third step is for businesses to connect with industry associations on the Island.
"These associations can work collaboratively with their members to establish common practices and procedures and put everyone in the industry on an even playing field," King said.
These plans need to be made before providing services.— Premier Dennis King
For businesses that don't have industry associations, he said they should reach out to local chambers of commerce.
King said the province is working on creating liaison services for individual businesses and organizations to make it easier to navigate the process and is optimistic that will be in place soon.
The fourth step, King said, is for businesses to complete an operational plan to demonstrate their preparedness.
"These plans need to be made before providing services," King said.
He said the Chief Public Health Office has developed a template with further guidance on its website.
These plans, King said, don't need to be submitted to the Environmental Health Office, however, he noted that office will be doing inspections. He said operational plans will need to be available on-site for review when inspections takes place.
These homes for our seniors and our vulnerable populations are at great risk if an outbreak occurs.— Premier Dennis King
Detailed information on this will be provided to industry associations and chambers of commerce later on Wednesday to be distributed to members.
"Businesses and organizations need to keep both customers' and employees' safety top of mind," he said.
"Without healthy and safe employees, businesses can't operate. So we need to protect them as much as we are, in the process, protecting our customers and clients."
Private care facilities
King also announced that Minister of Health James Aylward has been meeting with operators of private health-care facilities on P.E.I. over the last several weeks.
The province, King said, has approved increased funding to assist private long-term and community care facilities to help with the additional cost of the increased need for staffing, supplies and equipment.
King said $300,000 will be allocated per month to community care facilities and $290,000 per month for long-term care facilities.
He also said $130,000 will be distributed to assist facilities on P.E.I. caring for dementia patients who are entering long-term care. He said this new funding will be continuing for the foreseeable future.
"We know, after watching our sister provinces, these homes for our seniors and our vulnerable populations are at great risk if an outbreak occurs," King said.
King also noted Islanders can expect an announcement on Thursday on additional supports for low-income workers. He said the province is still waiting on approval from the federal government.
COVID-19: What you need to know
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.
Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
- Practise physical distancing.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
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With files from Malcolm Campbell