On Monday May 11, 2020, Project Rebound delivered masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant to local small businesses in Marion County, Kentucky. The state will begin a process to reopen businesses throughout the state in May and June. The Governor of Kentucky outlined specific businesses to reopen safely and effectively during the initial stages.
These businesses, public buildings and spaces, and churches can only open if they meet the Governor’s ten rules. One of the ten rules requires that certain PPE must be used. PPE consists of masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. Of course, these three items must be used every day and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Governor strongly suggested masks to be worn in public on May 11 in addition rolling out his plan to reopen the Kentucky economy in phases on specific dates. With requirements of having specific supplies in stock and in use, some small businesses don’t necessarily have the capacity, staff, and resources to assemble these materials required to open and operate.
In response to the Governor’s demands, members of the city council, Industrial Foundation and Lebanon Water Works formed a collaboration to help small businesses. The collaboration, known as Project Rebound, planned to distribute PPE to small businesses, niche industries and vulnerable populations within Marion County.
Project Rebound is made possible by the City of Lebanon, Marion County Fiscal Court, Lebanon/Marion County Industrial Foundation, Marion County Chamber of Commerce, Lebanon Water Works?, and Beam Suntory. Together, they purchased a stock of disposable masks that would be available to small businesses to help them gain the necessary PPE. Beam Suntory supplied an abundance of hand sanitizer. Lebanon Water Works utilizes Sodium Hypochlorite to disinfect the drinking water they treat and was confident that they could also supply a solution to help businesses get back to work. They were able to cut the product that they normally receive from Water Solutions Unlimited to a 6% solution and package it in 5-gallon jugs for distribution.
Project Rebound contacted Central Kentucky Community Action, the Lebanon Senior Center, Beautify Loretto, Loretto Mayor, Raywick Mayor, and Bradfordsville Mayor to distribute hand sanitizer and masks, along with hot meals to seniors in Marion County.
On Monday, May 11, the collaboration distributed these masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant to local small businesses. In all, the multiple entities involved have purchased 16,000 masks, produced the disinfectant, and obtained the hand sanitizer as a generous gift from Beam Suntory. They anticipate three more distributions to businesses and the vulnerable population.
The first disbursement consisted of 6,000 masks being delivered, with more than 5,000 going to 146 small businesses in Marion County. After the distribution from Project Rebound, over 1,000 employees had the necessary PPE in place to return to work. Along with helping the workforce, 500 masks were delivered to seniors in the general areas of Lebanon, Raywick, Loretto, Calvary, and Bradfordsville. These masks are available in time for the opening of professional offices, car dealerships, and non-essential industries.
On May 20, 2,000 masks will be delivered in time for retail stores and places of worship; but prior to the opening of restaurants, barber shops and salons. In the last delivery, 8,000 masks will be delivered on, or before, June 20. This will be around the time of the opening of childcare facilities and youth sports. Additional masks will be available for any business or vulnerable populations who need it.
The small businesses of Marion County, Kentucky would likely not be able to meet the demands of the Governor prior to the reopening date. Project Rebound has helped countless small businesses, and in turn, will help the Kentucky economy bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Originally appears on www.NRWA.org)