By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A program is offering free personal protective equipment to small Los Angeles County businesses as cold, flu and coronavirus cases are expected to continue surging.

PPE Unite provides a supply of items like hand sanitizer, masks and face shields to businesses with less than 100 employees.

“We need to work together to safely reopen our local economy for the health of our businesses and the general public,” the program said on its website.

Some of the people who came out to Montebello for contactless pick-up of PPE included business owners who operate a residential facility for adults with intellectual disabilities and were unable to get access to critical items on their own.

“Especially back in march when the pandemic first started we were going to Costco, Sam’s — those types of places — we were not successful,” business owner Daphanee Harbert said.

The group, PPE Unite, is making more than 5 million units of protective gear available.

“We’re seeing a lot of restaurants. We’re seeing a lot of medical clinics. Our physical therapists are requesting sanitizers,” PPE Unite said about the groups that came out to the event. “Our dentists are requesting face shields and face masks like nothing else.”  

Over the past three days, the number of coronavirus cases in L.A. County has been dangerously high, prompting officials to renew warnings against traveling and gathering.

If the county’s five-day average exceeds 4,500 or hospitalization tops 2,000 a strict reinstatement of the Safer at Home order will be issued.

The spike in coronavirus cases has led to business restrictions, that include a curfew, which will go into effect Saturday night from 10 p.m. to Sunday morning at 5 a.m.

“All hospitals are alarmed by this because we are starting to see these individuals trickling into the hospitals when they need care. The numbers are starting to go up now,” said Dr. Suman Radhakrishna of Dignity Health California Chair of Infectious Diseases. “We don’t want to get to the point where there no ICUs.”

To register for free supplies through the PPE Unite program, small businesses in L.A. County are asked to complete the registration form here.

The free PPE will be distributed for 30-days, on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.


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