Small businesses can now get free PPE thanks to CARES Act funding

SPOKANE, Wash. — Wearing a face covering is now required in Washington. With the demand so high right now, it’s been hard for small businesses to get the personal protective equipment they need to stay open.

“Trying to find it now is almost impossible. I spend probably an hour a day trying to find something that’s affordable,” said Lorilee Gill, Owner of Alltec Controls, Inc.

Gill owns her own contracting company in Spokane. She’s one of many business owners trying to keep her employees safe during this pandemic.

“I spent $2oo on just this type of mask in the beginning, but it’s going to run out and I’m going to need more,” she said.

That’s why County Commissioners agreed on using $2 million in CARES Act money to give PPE to small businesses in Spokane County.

“We wanted to make sure we had everything we needed for our businesses to be successful. Making sure that those who have stayed open had a little bit of a break for the things they were going to have to spend money on and that those that aren’t open yet can get prepared,” said Cindy Wendle, Business Recovery Leader with Greater Spokane Incorporated.

The giveaway started Monday morning at the Spokane County Fairgrounds, with nearly 1,700 businesses already signed up.

Each business owner will get a gallon of hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaner, as well as fabric and disposable masks — free of charge.

“We wanted to make sure that each business could at least have a 30 day supply of what they could use,” said Wendle.

It’s a huge help for these business owners. For essential workers like Gill, the supply simply isn’t enough.

“I am a contractor, so we’re talking dust, debris. It’s just not effective for my particular business,” Gill said.

“Every business could use more. A lot of them will go through these very quickly,” said Wendle.

They’re doing what they can to help. However, city leaders encourage business owners to share what would be most effective.

In order to qualify, each business or non-profit needs to have less than 49 employees. They’ll also have to register online ahead of time.