REDMOND — Marianne McGinty drove her SUV into the Redmond City Hall parking lot Thursday morning, hoping to receive free personal protective equipment for her store, Redmond Spa, Stove & Sauna.
Not only did she want to use the COVID-19 protective equipment to keep her employees and customers safe, but she also planned to give it to the contractors who help install hot tubs and stoves for customers, she said.
“When they go to a customer’s house, they can be safe,” McGinty said.
Two city staffers and a volunteer were more than ready with dozens of boxes stuffed with face masks, giant bottles of hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes and more.
As Chuck Arnold — Redmond’s manager of economic development and urban renewal who oversaw the giveaway — handed McGinty a tote bag stuffed with protective equipment, the store co-owner expressed her appreciation.
“Thank you so much, we are grateful for your support!” McGinty told Arnold through her face mask.
Thirty-six business owners and employees received 23,000 face masks, latex gloves, hand sanitizer dispensers and more to keep themselves and their customers safe. Leaving their car wasn’t necessary — a drive-thru setup allowed city staff to hand them their equipment through the passenger side window, like curbside pickup at a restaurant.
Arnold said he was happy to help local businesses serve people safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We felt there was an opportunity here to work and deploy materials to people that can help keep them safe, stay open, or get open,” he said.
The city has distributed more than 70,000 masks, gloves, bottles of hand sanitizer, wipes and other personnel protection items to more than 200 businesses in Redmond since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, according to a city press release. The state of Oregon has given personal protective equipment to cities like Redmond to distribute to locals, Arnold said.
Teresa Duckworth and Susie Brown also swung by city hall Thursday. The duo planned to use the protective equipment to safeguard the senior citizens they work with while cleaning their apartments and taking them grocery shopping.
“God bless them for what they are doing,” Brown said of city staff. “This is a blessing.”
Joey Podsadecki, an employee of Springtime Landscape and Irrigation, called the city event “pretty rad.” Getting lots of free face masks, sanitizer and more for Springtime’s large staff helps the company financially, he said.
“We have 60 employees...so buying that much PPE is a big expense,” Podsadecki said. “Now, we can focus on trucks and equipment and stuff.”
Thursday’s drive-thru event likely won’t be the last, Arnold said.
“This is the first of what will probably be several events,” he said. “If demand grows, we’ll find a way to get the supply.”