Members of Senate’s Fiscal Strategy Group Commend Governor & EDA for Acting on Plan to Provide PPE to Small Businesses

Trenton – The bipartisan Senate team of economic recovery strategists formed to help restart the state’s economy today praised Governor Murphy and the Economic Development Authority for following through on a plan to provide small businesses with access to Personal Protection Equipment so they can protect their workers and customers.

The EDA acted on a proposal today to create the “NJ Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program” that was presented by Senators Paul Sarlo, M. Teresa Ruiz, Steve Oroho and Troy Singleton in a “zoom meeting” with Tim Sullivan, the EDA’s CEO, and senior members of the Governor’s staff.

In the discussion, the senators emphasized the need for a procurement platform that offers economical and reliable access to PPE for the state’s smallest businesses, said Senator Sarlo, who chairs the bipartisan Task Force on Fiscal Recovery.

“While we have all faced daunting challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners and their employees have undoubtedly been hit the hardest. As we take steps toward recovery, it is important that we make sure these businesses are able to reopen and operate safely,” said Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The PPE Access Program is an important tool that will help us achieve these goals by ensuring small businesses are able to get the protective equipment they need to get back to work while keeping their employees and customers safe.”

“Access to personal protective equipment, and the cost associated with it, has been one of my biggest concerns since the onset of this pandemic. Our smallest businesses are struggling as it is, and while they work to outfit their employees with PPE, they’re all too often faced with shipping delays and exorbitant prices, compromising the safety of their employees and further stretching their already tight budgets,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This marketplace will help ensure access to masks and other protective equipment by offering quicker turnaround times and more reasonable prices, protecting our businesses, their employees and their customers. I am glad the EDA listened to the Legislature and implemented this initiative.”

“Small businesses on Main Streets across New Jersey need access to stable supplies of affordable personal protective equipment to ensure the health and safety of their customers and employees,” said Senator Oroho (R-Sussex). “This new program from the EDA will help our local mom-and-pop shops to purchase the PPE they need at discounted rates. This will help them to comply with safety protocols that align with CDC guidelines, providing the opportunity to compete and thrive during this unprecedented crisis.”

“I applaud the EDA for working with us to create a program where we can help small businesses and nonprofits secure discounted PPE,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “As we work to rebuild our economy, we have to recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is still standing in our way. Without a vaccine or therapy, it will be in our lives for the foreseeable future. This is why it is imperative we assist small businesses and non-profits to procure discounted PPE from New Jersey-based manufacturers and local small distributors in order to protect workers, clients and customers. At the same time, we’re also supporting local companies who have struggled during the pandemic.”

The primary focus of the program is to ensure that small businesses and non-profits that need it most have access to the PPE they need to keep their workers and customers safe. It also includes grants to support the vendors’ purchases of PPE from New Jersey-based manufacturers and from small distributors located in traditionally underserved communities.

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