Steven Myers

Highways Minister Steven Myers confirmed at a press conference Tuesday evening that seasonal crews for highway maintenance will have their jobs as their work is an essential service.

“I would say to anybody who is at home wondering if they’re going to be able to feed their families, you won’t have to worry, we have work for you,” Mr Myers said.

Seasonal highway maintenance crews are typically hired in April.

Mr Myers said his department is sorting out details amid the government move to essential services.

“We have no intentions of not hiring.”

He said recall letters for staff from last year have been sent out.

Mr Myers stressed highway maintenance may not seem like an essential service but “it absolutely will be when the snowbanks start to melt, the water is running across the road, the ditches need to be dug out and the drains need to be unplugged.”

He also announced some liquor stores in PEI would slowly begin reopening in areas that are not in close proximity to agency stores.

The province will begin with opening the Charlottetown Oak Tree Place location on March 25.

Mr Myers said the location will have enhanced protocols for public and staff safety.

The first hour of opening, from 10 am to 11 am, is reserved for seniors and those with compromised immune systems.

A new toll-free number has been set-up for Islanders to call for basic needs.

The province is rolling out the number for grocery delivery and essential supplies. The number can also be used by folks in need of emergency housing and emergency child care.

Anyone in need of these basic services can dial 1-833-533-9333.

Premier Dennis King, after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, assures Islanders federal financial assistance will start rolling in by April 6.

The province will launch of a new page on its website specifically for financial assistance programs. The website is www.princeedwardisland.ca/covidforbusiness Applications for all relief assistance programs announced to date can be viewed on the page.

Matthew MacKay, Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, stressed that employers are tasked with applying to the programs to assist employees.

Some of the programs include a gift card program where employees laid-off due to COVID-19 could receive a $100 for groceries to assist while they wait for Employment Insurance to kick in.

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