In an effort to help Tulsa-area small businesses and nonprofits reopen and operate safely in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a program to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) at no cost to qualified applicants launched today. Distribution of PPE will be by advance appointment beginning the week of June 22 at Expo Square in Tulsa.
The “Safer Tulsa County” program is a joint effort between Tulsa County, the Tulsa Regional Chamber and the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency (TAEMA). The program is funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that took effect in late March to help address the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
“Tulsa County has access to the CARES Act funding designed to help businesses recover from a forced closure,” said Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners Chair Ron Peters. “The Tulsa Regional Chamber has a great grasp of the needs of the small business community, and TAEMA has the expertise needed to acquire and distribute the PPE. It’s a great alliance to provide much-needed help to small businesses struggling to reopen.”
Small business or nonprofit employers interested in acquiring free PPE kits for their employees should visit the Tulsa County web site and complete an online application form. This form will be used to verify the employer’s status within the Secretary of State’s corporation database and with the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office. Once verified, employers will be contacted with a date and time for kit pick-up at Expo Square.
“As city and state closure guidelines are relaxed, a safe and smooth return to work is critical for our economic recovery,” said Justin McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “Use of PPE is recommended – or in some cases, required – by our health organizations, but acquiring PPE can be a significant barrier to reopening, especially when smaller employers are keenly feeling the pain of business interruption. This program should alleviate some of that pain and enable a faster, safer return to normal operations.”
Each PPE kit will contain a one-month supply of items for 10 employees, including hand sanitizer, surface disinfectant, cloth and disposable face masks, and a thermometer. Employers with 5 to 10 employees can receive one kit. Employers with 10 to 25 employees can receive up to two kits, and employers with 25 to 50 employees can receive up to three kits.
“We believe that this project will provide much-needed assistance to local businesses and help restart the economic engine that keeps our communities moving forward,” said Joe Kralicek, executive director of TAEMA. “This equipment will allow families and individuals to shop, eat and play knowing that these businesses and their employees are able to be safe and sanitary in all they do.”
The “Safer Tulsa County” program expects to distribute approximately 2,340 kits.
The online application for PPE kits is available at tulsacounty.org/ppe.