TRENTON, N.J. – A shortage of personal protective equipment at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic proved to be one of the state’s biggest public health challenges. A bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, to prevent such a crisis was back in the Assembly today to concur with the governor’s recommendations.
The Assembly passed the bill (A4803) that requires the state to solicit contracts for personal protective equipment to be used by state agencies.
“Without the proper protective equipment at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, our essential and frontline workers were put in precarious positions,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “Encouraging our manufacturers to obtain contracts to start making masks, gloves, gowns and other equipment for state agencies will help increase our access to life-saving gear.”
Under the bill, New Jersey’s homeland security and emergency management offices are required to contract with a third party to manufacture PPE. State-owned businesses would receive preference when awarding contracts.
“We have capable and successful manufacturers that can produce protective equipment in New Jersey. We should be helping keep them in business so people can stay employed,” said DeCroce.
State agencies will be given the first opportunity to purchase the equipment during a public health emergency. They could also sell or give surplus supplies to health care facilities and schools.