ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Due to the success of the program to provide free personal protection equipment to small businesses in Orange County, officials announced they plan to expand the program into next week.
The PPE program began on Monday with more than 11,000 small businesses with 40 employees or fewer able to register to pick up a bag of masks and hand sanitizers at six locations throughout Orange County.
“It became so popular and we saw such a worthiness of this effort that we felt a responsibility to increase it,” said Danny Banks, Orange County’s director of public safety.
Banks said as the week went on, more businesses heard about the program, another reason why they are extending it to Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Instead of six locations though, there will only be two pick-up sites located at Three Points Elementary School and Orlando Technical College’s Mid-Florida campus.
Not only is the county extending the program, the county also doubled the amount of money to double the amount of supplies for businesses. Each business can get 200 masks and 20 bottles of hand sanitizer per location. According to Banks, by end of business Friday, the county had distributed 1.75 million masks and 200,000 bottles of hand sanitizer at a price tag of more than $3 million.
The PPE for #SmallBiz in @OrangeCoFL Initiative provides free personal protective equipment kits for up to 20,000 small businesses in Orange County to assist in reopening or sustaining biz opps.— Orange County FL (@OrangeCoFL) May 8, 2020
✅Kits are limited
✅Info/Register: https://t.co/T5YWHPXNrR pic.twitter.com/xkw7q4mQUU
The money to fund the program came from the federal CARES Act grant money Banks said, of which the county received $243 million. The county now plans to use some of that money to get PPE supplies out into the community, not to just to more small businesses, but to residents as well.
"Our goal is to transition to starting to put this PPE into the hands of residents and citizens, not just small businesses. We got a strategy to do that," Banks said. "We realized Orange County is more than just the county, there are municipalities within Orange County and our intent is to serve them as well."
If you are a small business just hearing of the PPE program and in need of supplies, you can register to pick up PPE for next Tuesday or Wednesday, here.