to support the critical work of our social services staff and our community partners in responding to the needs of at-risk community members.” Funding distribution, by category, will be: $214,917 for emergency shelter solutions for residents in crisis situations and who need to self-isolate to prevent COVID-19 contagion; $360,000 for community non- profit housing, residential services homes, and transitional housing with supports; $459,000 for services and supports, including protective equipment, food and supplies by food banks or similar agencies, transportation cost aid, community outreach to support seniors in self-isolation, and other needs; creation of a reserve fund for homelessness prevention through a “rent bank” and emergency energy funds. UCPR social services department has also set aside temporary accommodation spaces to assist people affected by COVID-19 who need to self-isolate.

The first wave of local funding aid went out to help the most vulnerable resi- dents of Prescott-Russell. The United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) announced more than $1 million in social aid funding to support local non-profit groups that provide help for residents in need in the two counties. “In partnership with United Way East Ontario,” stated Sylvie Millette, UCPR social services director, “the UCPR social services department consulted with various agen- cies to target those supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities. This Social Needs Table, composed of several community organizations, met virtually to disseminate this information.” The UCPR will share $1,071,137 received from the provincial Social Services Relief Fund among La Maison Interlude, Prescott- Russell Community Services, Prescott-Rus- sell Victim Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Valoris for Children and Adults Prescott-Russell, several food banks, various non-profit housing corporations, and several charitable agencies that provide food security assistance. “The COVID-19 crisis has required a new approach to delivering our services, parti- cularly for our most vulnerable residents,” stated Warden Pierre Lemieux, “and this allocation from the province has been vital

The United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) will share more than $1 million in provincial social service relief funding among local non-profit groups to support programs that help the most vulnerable residents in Prescott-Russell during the current COVID-19 pandemic. —archives



they can operate and still meet public health safety guidelines. “We’re getting a lot of questions about farmers markets,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), during his regular media teleconference. “I myself do believe that farmers’ markets sell essential items. They sell food.” The challenge, Dr. Roumeliotis noted, is to develop a policy that would allow a farmers’ market to operate while also main- taining social distancing and other public health safety guidelines during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers’ markets that operate outside could have wide spaces separating individual sellers’ booths, Dr. Roumeliotis noted, and limiting the number of people on site to browse when

the market is open could also help avoid crowd-gathering situations. Farmers market staff could follow similar rules in place for grocery stores and other public-access businesses, which have staff manage traffic flow in and out of the building to avoid large numbers of people inside the premises. “I think it’s important to support this (local) industry,” said Dr. Roumeliotis, adding that a farmers’ market is like any other small business that serves its community. The EOHU is consulting with other regio- nal health units and also with officials for municipalities and farmers market groups to develop a policy that would allow farmers markets to operate, with some restrictions. “They would be limited to food products (for sale),” he said, adding that the protocol could be ready before the end of May.

Farmers’ markets are a popular local at- traction but the current pandemic threa- tens to keep them shut down unless the regional health unit can devise a plan so


Prescott-Russell’s farmers markets may be able to operate for the summer season despite the pandemic. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is consulting with its counterparts in Ottawa and other regions, and with officials for municipalities and farmers’ markets to develop a policy to allow the popular community activity to take place while maintaining social distancing guidelines against COVID-19. —archive photo

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