CNHI Statehouse Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS – Restaurants, retailers and professional services planning to reopen in the coming weeks may be required to wear personal protective equipment, such as masks, to comply with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s five-stage plan.
Those struggling to find supplies for their employees can turn to the state marketplace, which the Indiana Economic Development Corp. will launch Wednesday, May 6.
Luke Booso, the IEDC chief of staff, stipulated that only Indiana-registered businesses with under 150 employees qualify and encouraged companies to seek PPE through their established vendor first.
“The marketplace, which is initially free of charge, will consist of bundles of PPE based on the size or your business,” Bosso said. “At this time, only the bundles (of masks, face shields and hand sanitizer) will be available on the marketplace.”
Bosso said that the IEDC had procured more than 9 million PPE items and delivered 3.7 million by Tuesday, with another 500,000 expected to be delivered by the end of the week. Supplies may run out after the first 10,000 or so orders, Bosso said, but would be replenished.
Patrick Tamm, the CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, reported that his industry, the second-largest Hoosier employer, had laid off more than 200,000 people due to coronavirus safety measures and closures.
Throughout most of the state, restaurants can reopen on May 11 at 50% capacity with proper safety measures, including masks on nearly all employees.
Tamm said that restaurants already had health codes to follow and each restaurant would need to designate someone on staff to explain those protections to customers.
“(Reopening) is a very challenging question and answer for any restaurant … some people may be very challenged with the 50% capacity,” Tamm said. “Personally, I think a lot of our members and restaurants will be taking advantage of (the PPE marketplace).”
Tamm asked that customers with COVID-19 or recent exposure to the coronavirus not enter restaurants as well as vulnerable Hoosiers with underlying health conditions.
Source: HSPA InfoNet