To keep California safe, the state has partnered with private industry to increase production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and make it easier for businesses and essential workers to get.

There are two ways the state can help you get PPE: 

  • You can buy PPE from a merchant listed in the Safely Making California marketplace, or
  • You can request PPE from the state directly.

To buy PPE

Visit Safely Making California, a new PPE marketplace created by the California Manufacturers & Technology Association. There you can find where to buy:

  • Face masks
  • Face shields
  • Gloves
  • Sanitizers
  • Wipes
  • Gowns
  • Plexiglass partitions

To request PPE from the state

If you’re an employer of essential workers, you can request PPE from the state.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the State of California distributes masks and PPE to healthcare workers and others on the front line. It’s the state’s priority to ensure the safety of these essential workers.

See below for how to conserve PPE, and how frontline employers can order more for emergencies.

Preserving masks and PPE

If PPE is required as part of routine duties performed by essential workers:

  • Extend use times of undamaged, not visibly soiled PPE.
  • Put in place expanded facility-based PPE reuse policies.
  • Use CDC strategies to optimize the supply of PPE.
  • Practice decontamination and reuse strategies for filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) as a contingency measure.
  • Understand PPE requirements and track burn rate. Use CDC’s PPE burn rate calculator if needed.
  • Use alternative types or sources of PPE to support necessary operations.
  • Use NIOSH-approved respiratory protection that was not approved before by the FDA.
  • Check FDA and OSHA websites for updates and on relaxed enforcement and Emergency Use Authorizations.
  • Read NIOSH guidance on conserving FFRs in non-healthcare worksites, such as manufacturing and construction.

If PPE is not required as part of routine duties performed by essential workers:

  • Reduce exposure by adding
    • Barrier controls like Plexiglass barriers, improved ventilation systems
    • Safe-work practices, such as adjusting business operations to increase physical space between employees.
  • Read CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19 for more ways to reduce exposure risk in the workplace.
  • Do not attempt to get medical or industrial use PPE for non-essential workers. Such PPE is likely unavailable and is required for higher priority functions. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies reserved for healthcare workers.
  • Instead, follow CDC guidance on use of simple cloth face masks. CDC recommends wearing cloth masks wherever keeping distance is difficult (like control rooms or production floors). This applies especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
  • If commercially-sourced cloth face masks are not available, they can be made from common materials at low cost. Follow CDC guidance on how to make and use cloth face masks.

Acquiring PPE during shortages

If you’ve used these strategies to reduce the need for PPE, but you still need to order more for your essential workers, you should:

  • Continue working with private sector suppliers to source PPE. You may need to find many suppliers and focus on near-term versus long-term needs.
  • If suppliers can’t send PPE and your need is urgent, request it from your county’s emergency management or public health department.
  • If local emergency management can’t send PPE, they will contact the State Operations Center.
  • If the state can’t send PPE, it can contact the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center.

The process for ordering masks and other supplies from the state works as follows:

Flow chart of the Face Covering Distribution Process from Cal OES
Face Covering Distribution Process

Employer level

The first priority of employers in essential sectors is to ensure that employees have the PPE needed to safely perform their duties. The employer has primary responsibility for the procurement and distribution of emergency PPE. When the employer can’t meet the demand for PPE, they should contact their county or operational area.

Local government/county level

The first priority of local government is to ensure the essential workers in their district have PPE to slow the spread of COVID-19. The local government handles buying and distributing emergency PPE in their area. When the local government can’t meet the demand for PPE, they should contact the regional emergency operations center.

Regional level

When the region can’t meet the demand for PPE, they will contact the State for help.

State level

Cal OES will provide support and PPE resources to field level operations. If more PPE is required than the State can supply, Cal OES may request it from FEMA, EMAC, public/private partnerships, or other sources.