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State Seeks Recommendations for Ensuring Equitable Access to PPE for Businesses and Non-Profits as Economy Begins to Reopen

TRENTON, N.J. (June 15, 2020) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced today that it is working with the Office of Governor Phil Murphy and labor and industry leaders to gather new and innovative perspectives on facilitating sufficient and affordable access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safeguarding materials for small businesses and non-profit organizations as they begin to reopen in aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The NJEDA issued a Request for Information (RFI) today to seek information, ideas, and solutions  on how to ensure the state’s small businesses and non-profits have economical and equitable access to the appropriate personal protective equipment and safeguarding tools that they will need to reopen and operate safely. The RFI includes a special concern that PPE be available to organizations run by and for women, minorities and people of color, veterans, and other historically disadvantaged communities.

“Preventing a major recurrence of the COVID-19 virus outbreak is our top priority as we recover from this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The health and safety of each and every member of our workforce must be protected, and that can only happen if employers can access essential goods easily, fairly, and at a reasonable cost.”

In particular, the NJEDA is seeking guidance on how to accelerate market-based solutions to meet the need for PPE, including an understanding of the support necessary from the State government, or other interested parties such as corporations or philanthropies, that could best reinforce those efforts.

In May 2020, Governor Murphy established both the Restart and Recovery Commission and Restart and Recovery Advisory Council. One of the most universal and pressing concerns these groups have identified is small businesses’ and not-for-profit organizations’ need for PPE to protect their employees as they continue to reopen and operate in a post-COVID-19 environment.

“Safely reopening the economy and protecting workers and customers must take precedence over the speed at which we do so,” said Richard Trumka, President, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). “Jeopardizing the lives of hardworking Americans is not an option.” 

“The issue of access to PPE must be addressed head on to ensure a coordinated, transparent process for procurement and distribution of essential goods,” said Tony Coscia, Partner and Executive Committee Member, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP. “Seeking innovative ideas on how the State can support efficient, affordable, and equitable procurement and distribution of PPE products is a prudent and much-needed step in the process of reopening New Jersey’s economy.”

Trumka and Coscia serve as Co-Chairs of Governor Murphy’s Restart and Recovery Commission Economics and Fiscal Policy Working Group.

Entities that could respond to the RFI may include: PPE manufacturers and suppliers, technology companies, medical or office equipment retailers or wholesalers, existing or new buying cooperatives or consortia, non-profit organizations, industry or trade groups, and post-secondary educational institutions. Respondents can offer ideas for full solutions for sourcing and distribution of PPE or could address one aspect of the need, such as technological solutions or small business insights.

“Controlling the spread of COVID-19 is the only way to ensure a successful economic recovery, and easy access to PPE is crucial to ensuring businesses can operate while protecting employees and customers,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Sullivan, who serves as Co-Chair of Governor Murphy’s Restart and Recovery Advisory Council. “The Murphy administration is committed to ensuring that all small businesses and organizations, especially those owned by women, minorities and people of color, veterans, and other vulnerable communities have equal access to the PPE they need to restart and grow in the new economic landscape COVID-19 has created.”

The Restart and Recovery Advisory Council brings together leaders from diverse industry groups and community organizations throughout New Jersey to advise state leadership on economic matters impacted by COVID-19.

Businesses that are able to produce or source larger-scale wholesale PPE orders are encouraged to visit the State’s PPE Supplier Registry. Wholesale vendors with PPE inventory such as surgical or other protective masks, hospital gowns, hand sanitizer, or COVID-19 test kits can submit details on available supplies and hospitals, medical organizations, and private businesses can purchase. To date, more than 1,450 businesses have registered on the database, offering more than 3,800 products. The database is updated several times per week, and is easily filtered and sorted by product type, size, payment terms, location of supplier, and several other criteria. Suppliers who wish to be included in the Registry should fill out the PPE Supplier Registry intake form.

All questions concerning the RFI must be submitted in writing no later than 11:59PM EDT, on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020, via e-mail to: SmallBusinessPPE@njeda.com. Answers to questions submitted will be publicly posted on the Authority’s website on or about Wednesday, June 24th, 2020.
 
Final responses to the RFI must be submitted in writing no later than 11:59PM EDT, on Friday, June 26th, 2020  via e-mail to: SmallBusinessPPE@njeda.com. The subject line of the e-mail should state: “RFI Response-2020-RFI-OET-Covid19-PPE-107.”
 
Information for COVID-19-impacted business is available on the State’s business portal: https://cv.business.nj.gov. Comprehensive information about New Jersey’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak is available here: https://covid19.nj.gov/.
 
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
 
To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.
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