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Free PPE 'starter kits' offered to small businesses in Nassau County

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Richard Kessel,

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Richard Kessel, chairman of the county's Local Economic Assistance Corp., last month display the Personal Protection Equipment kits the county will give to qualified small businesses. Credit: Artie Raslich

Nassau County began accepting applications Wednesday from small businesses for free face masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protection equipment, officials said.

Owners of businesses that have been open at least one year, have 20 or fewer employees and gross revenue of less than $3 million are eligible for the free “PPE starter kits” from the county.

Each kit comes with a no-contact digital forehead thermometer, five face shields, 400 face masks, 100 pairs of gloves, 1,800 sanitary wipes and two gallons of hand sanitizer.  

The one-page application may be found at

“PPE is critical to getting people back to work safely and building confidence among customers, employees and the community as a whole," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Wednesday.

Richard Kessel, chairman of the county’s Local Economic Assistance Corp., agreed, saying 1,000 kits will be given out initially. The corporation is contributing $100,000 and the county’s Office of Community Development is contributing $400,000 in federal housing funds to the initiative.

“The most important thing that small businesses are asking for, other than ‘When can I reopen,’ is PPE,” Kessel said. “They say, ‘I can’t get it, I can’t afford it.’…My hope is these kits will be helpful to small businesses as they begin to reopen,” he said.

The PPE kits will be given out the week of June 15, though the distribution method is still being finalized. "This is 'first come, first serve' to the first 1,000 businesses that apply and qualify for the program," Kessel said.

John Coumatos, owner of B.K. Sweeney's Parkside Tavern in Bethpage and an assistance corporation board member, said he and other entrepreneurs are anxious to reopen.

"We were closed for a pandemic that was supposed to last four weeks and it's now been 10 weeks," Coumatos said. "We're having a hard time, but this [PPE kit] is a great starting point for all of us."


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