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Governor: N.J. auto body shops, other businesses must submit inventory of PPE by 5 p.m. Friday

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Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered all collision repairers and other businesses with personal protective equipment to submit an inventory to the state by 5 p.m. Friday.

“Any business or non-hospital health care facility, including but not limited to dental facilities, construction facilities, research facilities, office-based healthcare or veterinary practices, and institutions of higher learning, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services should undertake an inventory of such supplies and send that information to the State by no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020,” Murphy ordered Monday. “The Office of Emergency Management shall establish a process by which entities subject to this provision can submit this information.”

“It is our understanding that, at this time, that the state will not take PPE, from companies, but that could change in the future if the situation reaches a critical mass and that step needs to be taken,” Auto Care Association Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists community liaison Paul Fiore wrote in an email Thursday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and governor’s office on Thursday were looking into our inquiries into how shops would, should it become necessary, surrender PPE to the state without facing an OSHA penalty for workplace safety noncompliance. Continue to check Repairer Driven News for updates.

But for now, all you have to do is inventory your gear and submit a list to the state.

“This information should be submitted via covid19.nj.gov/ppereport. This must be completed by any business with this equipment by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 27,” New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub website states.

Anyone who fails to comply with the order or abets noncompliance “shall be adjudged a disorderly person and shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 6 months or shall pay a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or to both a fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court,” according to N.J.S.A. App. A:9-49 and 9-50.

If you do have equipment to spare, you can also sign up to donate it at the same URL, covid19.nj.gov/ppereport. Just click “Donate” instead of “Reporting Under EO  109.” It sounds like there’s health care workers who need it, based on this Monday New Jersey Advance article.

“Our hospitals, health care workers and first responders are on the front lines of fighting this pandemic and we appreciate your desire to help,” the New Jersey reporting/donation website states.

As of 1:30 p.m. Thursday, New Jersey had 6,876 positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus, including 81 deaths from the disease.

Murphy also in Executive Order 109 suspended all elective and invasive medical and dental procedures on adults after 5 p.m. Friday — anything that can be postponed without undue risk.

“Our new reality calls for aggressive action to reduce the burden on our health care system and protect our frontline medical responders,” Murphy said in a statement Monday. “Given the dramatic shortfall in personal protective equipment we face, it’s imperative that we work with our partners in health care to strategically preserve supplies and equipment for emergency purposes only.”

Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey Executive Director Charles Bryant on Thursday said some shops are donating extra equipment already for use in the COVID-19 effort. But he’s also asked repairers for donations and been told there’s none to spare.

“You can’t do certain things” in a body shop without the PPE, he said.

Fiore on Monday shared an account of a PPE dearth from a PBES committee member.

The PBES committee member noted “Limited distribution of PPE type equipment such as masks, respirators, gloves, etc.”

“(A) Distributor I am friendly with would typically buy anywhere from 5-10 cases of masks a week and is now limited to one case per week,” the committee member wrote. “Same is beginning to happen with gloves.  Manufacturers are looking at ways to drop-ship on behalf of these warehouses to protect the local inventory but still supply the demand being created at the Jobber and Shop levels of the supply chain.”

In other COVID-19 coronavirus news, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board on Thursday announced more than $75 million in state and private financial support for businesses — including grants for small businesses and no-interest loans for midsize ones.

“Small- and medium-sized enterprises are the heartbeat of New Jersey’s economy and it is crucial that we do what we can to provide the resources and assistance they need to withstand the outbreak of novel coronavirus,” NJEDA CEO Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said in a statement. “In coordination with our partners throughout State government, we are undertaking an unprecedented effort to support these businesses and the New Jersey residents who rely on them for their livelihoods. These are challenging times, but New Jerseyans are resilient, and together we will get through this and rebuild our economy.”

New Jersey estimated the amount could rise to $100 million if more resources come in from donors, the feds and the state.

“The initiatives will support between 3,000 and 5,000 small and midsize enterprises and are meant to complement recently announced federal economic recovery initiatives,” the state wrote in a news release.

Many collision repair operations nationally fall in that small to midsize category, and the state described some programs which might be helpful to New Jersey shops:

Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program – A $5 million program that will provide grants up to $5,000 to small businesses in retail, arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food service, and other services – such as repair, maintenance, personal, and laundry services – to stabilize their operations and reduce the need for layoffs or furloughs.

• Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program – A $10 million program that will provide working capital loans of up to $100,000 to businesses with less than $5 million in revenues. Loans made through the program will have ten-year terms with zero percent for the first five years, then resetting to the EDA’s prevailing floor rate (capped at 3.00%) for the remaining five years. …

• NJ Entrepreneur Support Program – A $5 million program that will encourage continued capital flows to new companies, often in the innovation economy, and temporarily support a shaky market by providing 80 percent loan guarantees for working capital loans to entrepreneurs.   

• Small Business Emergency Assistance Guarantee Program – A $10 million program that will provide 50 percent guarantees on working capital loans and waive fees on loans made through institutions participating in the NJEDA’s existing Premier Lender or Premier CDFI programs.

• Emergency Technical Assistance Program – A $150,000 program that will support technical assistance to New Jersey-based companies applying for assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The organizations contracted will be paid based on SBA application submissions supported by the technical assistance they provide. (Minor formatting edits.)

Learn more at https://cv.business.nj.gov.

“The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in New Jersey has sent us into uncharted territory, and the economic impacts will be significant and far-reaching, especially on Main Street. The scope and scale of this new challenge requires immediate action to support New Jersey workers and businesses,” Murphy said in a statement. “The new NJEDA programs announced today are a critical step that will mitigate the economic impacts of this unprecedented challenge and help workers and businesses to weather the storm and come out stronger when things return to normal.”

More information:

New Jersey Executive Order 109

New Jersey Governor’s Office, March 23, 2020

New Jersey Personal Protective and Medical Equipment reporting/donation website

New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub

“NJEDA Announces New Initiatives to Support Businesses Impacted by COVID-19”

New Jersey Governor’s Office, March 26, 2020

New Jersey COVID-19 business information

Featured image: Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. (Tim Larsen/New Jersey Governor’s Office)

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