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Thousands more free PPE kits available to Nassau firms

The Town of Hempstead on Monday said thousands

The Town of Hempstead on Monday said thousands more free PPE starter kits will be available to small businesses in Nassau County because of a $2 million grant. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Thousands more free PPE starter kits will be available to small businesses in Nassau County  because of a $2 million grant from the Town of Hempstead, officials said.

The county will distribute 5,000 personal protective equipment kits, up from 1,000. The kits are for businesses that have been open for at least one year, have 20 or fewer employees and had gross revenue of less than $3 million last year.

Each kit consists of 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 kits are being assembled by H&J Medical Supplies in Lindenhurst and Nassau Candy Distributors Inc. in Hicksville.

Hempstead supervisor Don Clavin said the town grant will supply 4,000 PPE starter kits to small businesses in the town exclusively. Hempstead entrepreneurs account for 1,281 of the 2,043 kit applications received by Nassau as of Monday.

The one-page application may be found at boostnassau.net.

Clavin said that during one of his daily telephone calls with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran he asked how the town could help expand the PPE kit program. Clavin said the $2 million grant, which is expected to be approved by the Hempstead Town board on Tuesday, comes from $133 million in federal stimulus received by the town.

“When people go into stores these kits will give them the confidence that this store is prepared, they will feel comfortable shopping,” he said.

Asked if Hempstead would make an additional grant if the supply of PPE kits runs out, Clavin said, “This isn’t one time. …If we need to make more of a grant at a later date, we’re going to do it.”

He also said the town is exploring other ways to help entrepreneurs as the economy reopens with Phase 2 set to start Wednesday. Phase 2 includes barbershops and hair salons, offices, professional services and in-store retail sales.

Curran, a Democrat, praised Clavin, a Republican, for supporting the PPE kit program.

“I’m grateful for the partnership with the Town of Hempstead and Supervisor Clavin so that we can provide more” kits, she said. “If there is a need for yet more we will again marshal our resources, assess what we have, and see if we can provide more.”

Curran said she hopes the greater availability of PPE will address the No. 1 concern of four in 10 small business owners on Long Island, based on a Hofstra University survey: that consumers will stay home out of fear of catching the coronavirus.

Curran and Richard Kessel, chairman of the county’s Local Economic Assistance Corp., developed the PPE giveaway after conversations with local chambers of commerce. The program was initially funded with $100,000 from the corporation and $400,000 from the county’s Office of Community Development.

Kessel said the kits will be distributed starting the week of June 15 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Business owners who have already applied don’t need to reapply because a queue has been created.

“A lot of businesses out there are very nervous about not being able to get or to afford PPE so that they can open their stores and attract customers,” he said.

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