Coalition to Stop the Spread taps the most credible voices in the COVID-19 fight: employees

Jan 15, 2021 | News, Newsletter

Pat Tiberi
Ohio Business Roundtable

 

Despite the recent approvals of new vaccines, the outlook for stopping the spread of COVID-19 remains grim. The disease is claiming precious lives, stressing our hospitals and threatening our state’s economy once again. And the end is not yet in sight.

Reducing the spread of the coronavirus is not a choice between our health and a strong economy, because the two are inseparable. The virus is affecting not only lives, but also small businesses, employment opportunities, business growth and expansions. We hear daily about companies delaying decisions to locate or expand because the next year is so uncertain. While there is much to admire about the resiliency and compassion that we saw during 2020, we still have a long way to go.

Employers have a role to play in helping to mitigate the spread, and they are doing so by keeping their workplaces safe. But the most powerful voices are everyday Ohioans willing to exhibit safe practices and encourage co-workers, family and friends to do the same.

With that in mind, on Dec. 1, 2020, Ohio employers launched the Coalition to Stop the Spread, a grassroots effort to mobilize their employees as anti-COVID-19 ambassadors. Led by the Ohio Business Roundtable, Ohio’s leading companies committed to engage their employees in the cause. Since then, more than 100 employers have signed on to the Stop the Spread coalition. Economic development organizations such as Ohio Southeast, the Appalachian Partnership, the Dayton Development Coalition and the Greater Cleveland Partnership also have engaged with the coalition to help build awareness, recruit businesses and not-for-profits, and support regional media announcements.

To fight the pandemic, we need unified messages and strategies that resonate with ordinary Ohioans. And the real boots on the ground in that fight are people you know, listen to and trust. Not somebody telling you, top-down, to change your ways. We all know the practices that will help keep us safe, such as wearing masks and keeping a safe distance. We practice them in the workplace every day. What coalition members are committing to and asking their employees to do is to take the safe practices message to close friends, co-workers and extended family.

We are providing employers of all kinds – not just Roundtable members or members of the coalition – with the tools they need to dispel misinformation, provide facts and encourage employees to be soldiers in this war. We have established a website from which employers can download toolkits they can tailor to their own workplaces. And we will be relentless in reaching out to all employers in Ohio to make a difference in the most daunting challenge of our time.

More than 5 million Ohioans are employed. That’s more than 5 million potential ambassadors. We are banking on employers, as they learn of the resources available to them, to engage these individuals in ways that help us to Stop the Spread.

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