Red tape holding up PPE supply, says Colorado company

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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — A Colorado company with contracts to ship millions of pieces of personal protective equipment to the United States said negotiations are stalled because of government red tape.

Tread Global, based in Wheat Ridge, has an office in China and close contacts with manufacturers there. They can produce millions of face masks, gowns, face shields and more every week.

“We’ve been working for the last two weeks, really around the clock, with our guys there on the ground to make these deals,” said Tread Global’s Chief Marketing Officer Benjamin Ray.

Ray said the company has contracts with three manufacturers that can deliver the following PPE, that’s already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and ship it to Colorado and other states in as few as 12 days:

  • 1.2 million N-95 masks
  • 3 million medical masks 
  • 3 million surgical masks
  • 3.4 million surgical gloves
  • 40,000 gowns
  • 120,000 face shields

“We have about four days left to put deposits down from the companies to secure our line,” Ray said. “And so we need signed POs (purchase orders), as well as a deposit, to get these things going.”

Ray said Tread Global has been negotiating with Colorado, along with Michigan, Louisiana, Alabama and Washington state and has also reached out to the federal government.

Colorado’s Innovation Response Team confirms it’s had conversations with Tread Global, but has not said if they’ve stopped or why.

Ray said if the contracts are not signed soon, the equipment will go to the states or even other countries.

“It isn’t that there’s a lack of PPE,” Ray said, “It’s just that the red tape is holding things up.”

Gov. Jared Polis’s office released the following statement about negotiations with Tread Global:

“The Governor suspended normal procurement red tape weeks ago. The Emergency Operations Center, working with the private sector leaders on the innovation team, issue purchase orders in minutes. Because Colorado has cut paperwork and is moving quickly, we are paying competitive prices for high-quality needed items in the domestic and global marketplace, and the Colorado team is successfully cutting through delays and bureaucracy to get things done immediately. The Emergency Operations Center has requested a price quote and delivery schedule from this company, which is needed to evaluate whether the prices and timing from this potential vendor meet the needs of Colorado and our residents.”

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