Oakland County unveils guidance on reopening business amid COVID-19

Oakland County Exec. Dave Coulter.
Oakland County Exec. Dave Coulter. (WDIV)

Oakland County says it will distribute 10,000 COVID-19 safety toolkits which include facemasks, no-touch thermometers, gloves and sanitizer to give small businesses essential materials for reopening and customers confidence they will have a safe experience.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter today said the self-contained “Oakland Together” plastic totes will be taken to 50 locations throughout the county for distribution by downtown development authorities, city managers, economic development officials and chambers of commerce.

“The kits serve two purposes,” Coulter said. “We want to give our small businesses essential materials that have been difficult to acquire and are necessary when the OK comes for businesses to reopen safely. At the same time, we want customers to feel confident that our businesses are doing all they can to keep their customers and their employees safe. This is a priority for everyone.”

The kits are designed for small businesses with 50 employees or less that operate in Main Street Oakland County communities, other businesses not in a downtown, or faith-based organizations, among others. Kits have materials, based on the number of employees in a business. Besides masks and gloves, they include sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, floor stickers for interior spacing of customers or employees, posters and ideas for social distancing.

Materials were acquired from Oakland County-based companies when possible, including Detroit Sewn. The Pontiac-based company, which was making knitwear before the COVID-19 pandemic, received a $25,000 grant from the county to manufacture personal protective equipment for health care systems and first responders. The county purchased 150,000 masks from the company.

The county, at Coulter’s request and through funding approved by the Board of Commissioners, has provided $14 million in grant support for Oakland County small businesses. More than 3,500 small businesses seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will receive grants averaging nearly $4,000 from Oakland County’s small business stabilization fund.

The kits have more than $400 worth of supplies. They were assembled and stored in a warehouse space in Bloomfield Township provided by Oakland County businessman Roger Penske.

Among other items, the county purchased:

  • 10,000 flap-top totes
  • 30,000 bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 10,000 touch-free thermometers
  • 60,000 social distancing floor decals
  • 10,000 ReOpen Resource Guide
  • 10,000 “We care about your safety” poster
  • 500,000 Community Resource Guide

Distribution to the 50 locations begins on Thursday and should be completed by early next week and will be prioritized by business sector. In order of distribution:

  • Restaurants, bars, cafes, entertainment venues
  • Personal services, including salons, barbers and massage therapy
  • Retail
  • Professional services, including attorneys, insurance agents and realtors

The Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs estimated there are about 3,300 small businesses in the 25 Main Street Oakland County communities, more than 1,800 in downtowns not in the Main Street program and about 4,300 small businesses in other locations not covered by Main Street or a downtown development authority.

Small businesses wanting a toolkit can request one at https://www.oakgov.com/covid/resources/Pages/default.aspx.

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