Colorado has ordered auto body shops and other businesses to send details on their personal protective equipment supplies by the end of Thursday, and a similar Minnesota command might apply to some repairers as well.
Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on March 19 ordered the inventories be submitted by Thursday.
“I request that any Colorado business or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental, construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators and anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services undertake an inventory of such supplies by no later than March 26th, 2020 and prepare to send it to the State of Colorado,” Polis wrote. “I direct the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to allocate any supplies received pursuant to this order to support activities related to the COVID-19 response.”
Shops should send a list of equipment to the state using this Google Document. The state is not ordering you to ship the actual supplies, Emergency Operations Center public information officer Micki Trost confirmed Friday.
“They’re just sending an inventory,” she said.
Asked if there was any grace period for shops who sent in an inventory after Friday, Trost said “I don’t have any details” on enforcement. She said it was critical the state know how much personal protective equipment existed in its borders.
If you want to donate shop supplies regardless, Colorado also asks you to fill out the inventory form. If you just have a few items left, the state asks that you reach out to your local public health agency.
Minnesota’s inventory order is narrower.
“Any Minnesota business, nonprofit, or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental, construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines (including any consumable accessories to these devices) that are not required for the provision of critical health care services or essential services and were not produced by the organization for the purpose of sale, must undertake an inventory of such supplies no later than March 25, 2020,” Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz wrote on Monday.
A FAQ from the state said the order to inventory PPE didn’t apply if all of the supplies were for “essential services.” But if the PPE was used for a mix of essential and nonessential services, an inventory was necessary.
“Yes, you need to complete the inventory unless all the PPE in your possession is required for essential services or critical health care services,” Minnesota wrote in a FAQ. “If you have more PPE than you anticipate needing in the near future, please complete the inventory and consider donating it for use in the delivery of critical health care services,” the
All nonessential usage of PPE must cease and be donated or cease in anticipation of a future request to sell or donate it, according to Walz.
“Any Minnesota business, nonprofit, or non-hospital health care facility must refrain from using any such consumable equipment other than for use in delivering critical health care services or essential services requiring such equipment, and must either donate it to a local coordinating entity or prepare for the possibility of being asked to donate or sell it for use by critical health care workers,” Walz wrote Monday.
If you want to donate your time, supplies or materials regardless, visit https://mn.gov/ppe, Walz said.
“The purpose of the inventory is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the supply of PPE across the state,” the state explained in a FAQ. “Submitting your inventory does not necessarily mean you will be asked to provide your PPE for use elsewhere. If you are not providing an essential service, you may be asked to donate or sell your PPE to help Minnesota health care workers if need arises.”
The state of Minnesota defines essential transportation services during the COVID-19 pandemic using the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s guidance, which includes “Automotive repair and maintenance facilities.”
Walz wrote Friday that the state also considered “State, county, and local government agencies and agency workers, as well as private sector workers, who support or enable transportation functions, including engineers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians (including workers at maintenance and repair shops), warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require crossborder travel)” as essential.
The inventory submission website is still live. We’ve reached out to Minnesota to see if there’s any grace period on submissions for the shops which would have been required to send an inventory Wednesday.
Oregon has “strongly encouraged” conservation of PPE but hasn’t mandated it of shops.
The state on March 19 ordered “all elective and non-urgent procedures” cancelled or rescheduled effective Monday and required all medical, veterinary and dental clinics with “surplus PPE” to notify the Oregon PPE Coordinator at 971-900-9952 about their supplies and arrange for delivery.
However, body shops and other businesses were still notified of the need for the gear.
“Individuals and entities in other industries that utilize PPE, including but not limited to the commercial, construction, farming, and manufacturing sectors, are strongly encouraged to cancel or postpone non-essential uses of PPE during the ongoing state of emergency, so that equipment can be conserved and redirected to the state’s COVID-19 response,” Democratic Gov. Kate Brown wrote on March 19.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the deadline for Colorado businesses to submit PPE inventories. The inventories were due Thursday. The article has since been corrected to reflect this.
Minnesota Governor’s Office, March 23, 2020
State of Minnesota, March 25, 2020
Colorado Governor’s Office, March 19, 2020
Oregon Governor’s Office, March 19, 2020
Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is shown. (U.S. House Office of Photography)
An N95 mask is seen. (Memorystockphoto/iStock)