COUNTY council bosses are urgently appealing for protecting equipment for its front line care staff - and will stump up cash to small businesses for it.

The council needs items such as masks, disposable gloves, aprons, eye goggles and overshoes, as well as sanitising gel.

The council chiefs launched the appeal for help in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes amid claims from health staff across the country over a lack of equipment for them to help care for their patients safely.

The authority wants to protect its front line care staff who are looking after and delivering care to the most vulnerable residents within Essex.

The council is willing to pay small businesses for any items they may have.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Over the last few days there have been many small business that may use these products on a day to day basis, such as restaurants, gyms, beauty salons, nail bars, car body shops, tattooists, cleaning companies, hardware stores and schools to mention a few, which have closed in support of suppression the spread of the virus, flatten the curve and stay at home.

“It may be that there are protective items sitting in storage cupboards that can be put to good use and consequently ECC are seeking to gain knowledge if you would be able to offer up this stock in our fight against this virus and support our front line workers.

“Essex County Council are willing to purchase any stocks should this be a need for your consideration and will discuss this further if a donation is not agreeable.”

The spokesman added: “Please can you email or message us with your PPE supply details including quantity and postcode, and a contact phone number and we will be in touch (just a reminder not to post personal details)

“Once we have an understanding of what is available Essex County Council will then contact you, prioritise the safe delivery or collection whilst observing social distancing methods

“Please can you like and share across all your networks to maximise the reach to local business, we need your help , lets show how Essex can all pull together and beat this virus and protect our most vulnerable.”

Andrew Baggott, leader of the Basildon Conservative group said: “This is going to be very welcome and I think this is a really good initiative.This is an example of everyone getting together to help fight this off.

“Nurses, medics and all NHS staff will be so grateful of this additional support. There will be lots of firms who have this equipment and are not using it.

“I would encourage as many businesses as possible to join.”

this appeal and I hope we see lots of our firms take part.

“It’s like the old war time spirit, with everyone pulling together.”

Mr Baggott says he fully endorses and applauds the authority’s appeal.