Strategies to Address the Need for Personal Protective Equipment as States Gradually Reopen



As states and territories gradually reopen their economies and relax social distancing rules meant to slow transmission of COVID-19, there remains widespread demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators (e.g., N95 respirators), masks, face shields, goggles, gowns and gloves. Additionally, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, as well as state and territorial recommendations and mandates, call for the use of cloth face coverings as a method of source control where social distancing is not practiced. In some instances, states and territories may be positioned to create or enhance their stockpiles of PPE to prepare for the anticipated resurgence of COVID-19. The availability of data from the early months of the pandemic can be used to inform a strategic procurement, allocation, and stockpiling strategy that balances preparedness efforts with the ongoing need to protect health care workers, first responders and individuals in long-term care and correctional settings who remain at high-risk. States are also increasingly thinking about the PPE needs of small businesses and underserved communities, particularly those that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  

To better inform this memo, the National Governors Association (NGA) surveyed states to explore and understand their activities in the areas of PPE stockpiling and procuring or paying for PPE and/or cloth face coverings for:  those in the state’s care (e.g. foster care, corrections); state employees; small businesses; and low-income households. A total of 12 states and territories responded to this survey, and further information on their responses for each area are highlighted throughout this memo. NGA also engaged with several external partners to better understand the supply chain and have reflected some of those perspectives in this memo. As such, this memo serves to showcase the landscape of current state strategies to obtain PPE, from stockpiling activities to the PPE needs of small businesses and provides only limited considerations for future PPE efforts.

All NGA coronavirus memos can be found here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for current information on the status of COVID-19 In The United States, a list of actions states/territories have taken to address both the public health and economic impacts, and policy resources.