November 30, 2020

A Letter from Pat Tiberi: Ohioans together can stop the spread of COVID-19

Dear Coalition Member,

First and foremost, I applaud all that you have done to lead your organizations through this terrible pandemic. And I thank you for being ever responsive to the safety needs of your employees and customers.

On behalf of the Coalition to Stop the Spread, thank you for stepping forward to join this critical endeavor. Tomorrow, we will formally announce the Coalition with a statewide press release followed by a series of media briefings throughout this week and next. In advance of the public announcement, I am pleased to share with you, a founding member of this Coalition, some additional details and an early look at the new website with an array of resources to facilitate your communication with your members and employees.

As you know, Ohio and virtually every other state has seen its COVID-19 cases rise in unprecedented numbers during these past weeks and months. We continue to set new records for positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths, with no end in sight. The disease, which once was more prevalent in urban areas, has become an equal opportunity killer.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ohio has recorded 371,000 total COVID-19 cases and more than 6,000 total deaths. More than 25,000 Ohioans have been hospitalized and those numbers have been surging. Between Nov. 11 and Nov. 24 alone, hospitals reported COVID-19 patient loads rising from 2,873 to 4,449.

The economic toll has been devastating, with many businesses closing and more unemployment claims filed by Ohioans this year than in the last four years combined. Mental health professionals have noted the stress and strain put on families and individuals as many school buildings remain closed and large numbers of people work from home.

Each of us probably has strong opinions about how to respond to the pandemic. But we can all agree that this new surge poses a grave danger to our citizens, the medical professionals treating them, Ohio’s economy and the business community. Without intervention now, we cannot get the virus under control. That well could mean more hospitalizations, more deaths and continued impacts on our businesses and economy. None of us can afford that risk.

We at the Ohio Business Roundtable believe that employers have a voice in protecting our economy and our livelihoods from this threat. But we cannot do it alone. Collectively, Ohio organizations employ more than 5 million individuals. We are calling on you, coalition members, to mobilize these individuals as part of the Coalition to Stop the Spread. 

Our effort is a coordinated statewide grassroots initiative designed to educate and motivate employees to champion safe health practices in their families, neighborhoods and communities.

The initiative is built on two core beliefs: First, employees trust their leadership to tell them the truth and second, that proven, tested behaviors will help protect employees’ families and their jobs. While millions of Ohioans are following workplace safeguards and are taking the necessary precautions in their daily lives, more needs to be done.

The Coalition to Stop the Spread is making a number of resources available to you to help you in encouraging your workforce to champion healthy behaviors. We’ve created a dedicated page on the Coalition’s website with the following resources:

  • Talking points to help you discuss this challenge with your employees.
  • A sample message to employees that you can tailor to your specific situation.
  • A fact sheet that clarifies common misunderstandings about COVID-19.
  • Social media graphics for employees to use if interested on their personal accounts.
  • Links to helpful resources shared by Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Hospital Association.

It would be an understatement to say we are concerned about the risk that COVID-19 presents to our businesses, our employees, our medical professionals and our communities. I thank you and your employees for joining us in this important effort. If you are comfortable, please help us to amplify tomorrow’s announcement by sharing the Coalition’s information with your teams and with other businesses and nonprofit organizations to encourage their participation. We all have a common interest: a strong Ohio economy underpinned by strong Ohio employers.

Sincerely,

Pat Tiberi
President and CEO
Ohio Business Roundtable