Governors in Colorado, New Jersey, and Minnesota are demanding that private companies whose employees often use personal protective equipment (PPE) submit lists of their inventories to the state, in what could very likely result in the government seizing these supplies and redistributing them to hospitals due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Businesses that must provide lists include car repair shops, institutions of higher learning, non-hospital health care facilities, construction contractors, veterinarians, and more.
Auto centric Repairer Driven News reports:
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered all collision repairers and other businesses with personal protective equipment to submit an inventory to the state by 5 p.m. Friday.
“Any business or non-hospital health care facility, including but not limited to dental facilities, construction facilities, research facilities, office-based healthcare or veterinary practices, and institutions of higher learning, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services should undertake an inventory of such supplies and send that information to the State by no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020,” Murphy ordered Monday. “The Office of Emergency Management shall establish a process by which entities subject to this provision can submit this information.”
Murphy isn’t ordering companies to forfeit the goods (yet), and some of theses businesses are wondering how it would impact their standing with OSHA should they be stripped of their mandated gear, as the article continues:
“It is our understanding that, at this time, that the state will not take PPE, from companies, but that could change in the future if the situation reaches a critical mass and that step needs to be taken,” Auto Care Association Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists community liaison Paul Fiore wrote in an email Thursday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and governor’s office on Thursday were looking into our inquiries into how shops would, should it become necessary, surrender PPE to the state without facing an OSHA penalty for workplace safety noncompliance. Continue to check Repairer Driven News for updates.
But for now, all you have to do is inventory your gear and submit a list to the state.
New Jersey isn’t the only state positioning themselves for a possible seizure of materiel, as a separate article on Repairer Driven News explains:
Colorado has ordered auto body shops and other businesses to send details on their personal protective equipment supplies by the end of Friday, and a similar Minnesota command might apply to some repairers as well.
Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on March 19 ordered the inventories be submitted by Friday.
“I request that any Colorado business or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental, construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators and anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services undertake an inventory of such supplies by no later than March 26th, 2020 and prepare to send it to the State of Colorado,” Polis wrote. “I direct the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to allocate any supplies received pursuant to this order to support activities related to the COVID-19 response.”
Shops should send a list of equipment to the state using this Google Document. The state is not ordering you to ship the actual supplies, Emergency Operations Center public information officer Micki Trost confirmed Friday.
“They’re just sending an inventory,” she said.
Minnesota’s inventory order is narrower.
“Any Minnesota business, nonprofit, or non-hospital health care facility, whether veterinary, dental, construction, research, institution of higher learning, or other, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines (including any consumable accessories to these devices) that are not required for the provision of critical health care services or essential services and were not produced by the organization for the purpose of sale, must undertake an inventory of such supplies no later than March 25, 2020,” Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz wrote on Monday.
Walz directed businesses to submit that information at https://mn.gov/ppe. The site instructs visitors to inventory supplies using this form.
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A FAQ from the state said the order to inventory PPE didn’t apply if all of the supplies were for “essential services.” But if the PPE was used for a mix of essential and nonessential services, an inventory was necessary.
“Yes, you need to complete the inventory unless all the PPE in your possession is required for essential services or critical health care services,” Minnesota wrote in a FAQ. “If you have more PPE than you anticipate needing in the near future, please complete the inventory and consider donating it for use in the delivery of critical health care services.”
But the Minnesota order goes further:
All nonessential usage of PPE must cease and be donated or cease in anticipation of a future request to sell or donate it, according to Walz.
“Any Minnesota business, nonprofit, or non-hospital health care facility must refrain from using any such consumable equipment other than for use in delivering critical health care services or essential services requiring such equipment, and must either donate it to a local coordinating entity or prepare for the possibility of being asked to donate or sell it for use by critical health care workers,” Walz wrote Monday.
That’s right, if you normally use the equipment for your job, you’re not allowed to use it now, unless the state deems your job to be “essential.”
Gun owners, in particular, should pay close attention to this, as this could set a standard for the government using authority to forcibly seize your property from you after you send them a list of what you own.