The Nova Scotia government on Friday announced $40 million in supports for workers and small businesses coping with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government issued a statement saying it is launching a $20 million Worker Emergency Bridge Fund to help self-employed people and laid-off workers who are not eligible for employment insurance. It also has launched a $20 million Small Business Impact Grant program to help small and medium-sized businesses, or SMEs, cope with the economic slowdown.

“Our small businesses and those who are self-employed have always been at the heart of our economy but now that COVID-19 is here, layoffs and closures have slowed the pace of our economy,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in the statement. “Our economic support plan has added two new programs that will put more than $40 million in the pockets of those out of work and small businesses affected by COVID-19. The goal is to begin processing applications early next week – to get cash out the door as quickly as possible.”

The news comes as governments are coming up with a range of programs to support SMEs. The federal government has unveiled a wage support program that will pay up to 75 percent of the payroll costs for businesses whose revenues have dropped 30 percent or more. And it has created $40 billion of credit supports through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

The New Brunswick government has said it will defer loan and interest repayments for up to six months on existing provincial loans. New Brunswick will also provide loans of as much as $100,000 to support small businesses. Opportunities New Brunswick will work with a trusted partner to administer the application process.

Under Nova Scotia’s Worker Emergency Bridge Fund, the government will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment, to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Nova Scotia’s Small Business Impact Grant is open to small businesses and social enterprises, and it will pay them a grant of 15 percent of their revenue from sales – either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. This one-time, upfront grant can be used for any purpose necessary.

The payments will come out of a new $50 million fund that will be administered by Dalhousie University in Halifax.

People or businesses enrolled in other provincial or federal programs are still eligible for the Nova Scotia programs announced Friday.