The British Columbia government is increasing monthly income and disability assistance payments by $300 during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Shane Simpson, the minister of social development and poverty reduction, said Thursday the $300 supplement will be automatically applied to assistance payments for April, May and June.

The first payment will be made on April 26 and will go to as many as 263,000 people, he said.

“We know that people are concerned and they’re scared,” he told a news conference. “We know that people who are living in poverty and living vulnerable are even more scared and concerned.”