Organizations call on local businesses to revamp COVID-19 efforts

Three Dayton business groups called on local companies to take COVID-19 precautions seriously in a full-page ad in the Dayton Daily News.

The joint letter from leaders of the Dayton Development Coalition, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Dayton Partnership was published on Sunday. The president and CEOs of the three organizations — Chris Kershner of the chamber, Jeff Hoagland of the development coalition and Sandy Gudorf of the downtown partnership — signed the letter.

The letter comes as the Dayton region has set a record for the number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 and local hospitals have delayed procedures that aren’t immediately critical but could prevent future complications, reduce severe pain or better the patient’s quality of life.

Kershner noted the business community has been a leader on pandemic safety since the beginning of COVID-19.

“It is important that we keep working together as a region to get through this time,” he said.

Patients are also reporting long wait times at emergency rooms and urgent cares, and others have trouble getting doctors’ appointments.

“We implore you to strengthen your focus on COVID-19 safety so that our region can continue moving toward the goal of a completely reopened economy,” the three presidents said.

All three specified they did not want to impede the momentum of business or worsen a workforce challenge. But the three said it is critical that businesses continue safe working conditions and encourage healthy employee practices.

Gudorf said the ad was part of a collaboration with the Greater Dayton Hospital Association and the three business groups at a time when it was crucial that COVID-19 precautions be taken.

“It’s really an education process, and it’s just something that we wanted to all work together on,” she said.

The letter also notes that 85% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the last four weeks are unvaccinated.

This letter comes after hospital leaders spoke last week to all three business groups’ boards about the direness of the situation.

GDAHA President Sarah Hackenbracht said the region’s employers are both business leaders and civic leaders who can get GDAHA’s message to their respective communities.

“We really needed to connect with those leaders in our community to help them understand how dire the situation has been for hospitals, and that we truly need everyone’s support and engagement to help move forward and try and stem this current surge that we’re experiencing,” she said.

The hospitals are asking area leaders to be a model for their employees and their community and get vaccinated. This will send the message that the vaccine is safe, Hackenbracht said.

“The vaccine is truly going to be our best way forward as a community out of this pandemic,” she said.

GDAHA is also asking each business to review its own practices to make sure they are taking every precaution to prevent coronavirus spread.

“Our hospitals are at capacity. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are setting new records every day,” the letter says. “To get through this pandemic and ensure our Dayton region business community can thrive on the other side, recommit to being tthe safest and healthiest businesses in Ohio.”