P.E.I. to reopen liquor store, offer Sobeys gift cards to laid-off workers

HALIFAX —
Prince Edward Island and Sobeys have partnered to purchase $400,000 worth of gift cards to hand out to any Islander who has been laid off in the province, announced P.E.I. premier Dennis King during a news conference on Tuesday.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King, Matthew MacKay, Minister of Economic Growth and Tourism, and Steven Myers, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, held a news conference to speak about economic relief and options provided to Islanders.

“We want this economic roll-out to be focused on getting money into the hands of those who need it the most immediately,” said King during Tuesday’s news conference. “Those who have lost their jobs, those who have had their businesses impacted, and those who have had their hours significantly reduced.”

King said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed him on a call Monday night that federal aid will be rolling out to Islanders on April 6, and will be of a great benefit.

Until April 6, King says the province will continue to support Islanders. Applications for emergency relief are now available for Islanders on the province’s website, and King says staff are working hard to review and respond to inquiries as quick as possible.

P.E.I. will also reopen a liquor store on the Island Wednesday, after closing all 17 liquor stores on March 18

“There is well established public health and addictions research and evidence to support maintaining alcohol access for those in risk of withdrawal,” said Myers. “We are opening the store with enhanced cleaning and health and safety precautions in place to protect the public and our staff.”

Beginning Wednesday morning, Oak Tree liquor store in Charlottetown will be opened from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, from Monday to Saturday. The liquor store will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. specifically for seniors and shoppers with compromised immune systems.

“We are starting with one store, and will continue expanding over the next few weeks,” added Myers.

The liquor store will be enforcing social distancing, and recommends customers use tap, but will be accepting cash.

MacKay also announced that the P.E.I government, in partnership with Sobeys, have purchased $400,000 worth of gift cards.

“We know there’s no time to waste, Islanders need help now,” said MacKay. “Islanders need to put food on the table, and take care of their families.”

The province is offering $100 gift cards to any Islander who has been laid off, which can be used at Sobeys, Co-op, Foodland and Lawtons. It is the employers responsibility to complete the application for the employee gift card program, which is available on the province’s COVID for Business web page.

On Monday, Sobeys announced they will be offering ‘hero pay’ to support its frontline workers in the Maritimes during the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, Prince Edward Island has reported three positive cases of COVID-19, and hasn’t had a positive test since Sunday, chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced during a press conference on Tuesday.

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