Responsible RestartOhio
The Governor’s Responsible RestartOhio plan provides employers and employees with guidance on how to protect the health of employees, customers, and their families; support community efforts in controlling the spread of the virus; and, how to lead responsibly in getting Ohio back to work. This plan includes information on responsible protocols, continued business closures, sector specific operating requirements, various advisory groups, public health orders and more.

To find specific information on how to safely return to work, please click here .
Reopening Your Business
At a time when the affects of COVID-19 are being felt around the globe, employers and employees are anxious to get back to work. With Ohio’s relative “flattening of the curve” and the current data not living up to the original model’s case projections, various legislators and business groups are becoming adamant that the time to reopen businesses is now. 
“For the sake of our economy and for our society, it is of utmost importance to get our businesses up and running as soon as possible. I believe that If given the freedom to do so, Ohio’s business community will rise to the occasion and take the steps necessary - by their own volition - to keep their employees and customers safe while promoting commerce critical for our economic health.” – Senator Kristina Roegner (SD-27)
The Greater Akron Chamber understands the need and desire for employers to reopen, while at the same time understanding we are still in the midst of a global health pandemic. We strongly encourage all businesses looking for guidance to refer directly to Governor DeWine’s Responsible RestartOhio plan. Reopening the economy must prioritize safety and to that end, we have been meeting with business leaders from within various industries and discussing best practices for reopening your business and operating alongside COVID-19, as this virus is still very much prevalent. These conversations include engagement from elected officials, health professionals and industry leaders and are focused on keeping employees and customers safe. 

To participate in these conversations in the future, or listen to recently held conversations, please visit the Greater Akron COVID-19 Resource Guide

For industry specific guidance on reopening your business, please click here.
Proposed Changes to the 2020 General Election
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has proposed changes that would increase access to mail-in ballots, offering to pay postage on return applications and ballots that are requested online, and make other voting-law changes in order to assure a smooth presidential election in November.

Specifically, LaRose’s proposed changes would:
  • Allow online requests for a vote-by-mail ballot, rather than requiring a form to be printed off from the internet or requested by phone;
  • Allow ballot requests, as well as ballots, to include postage-paid envelopes, which could prevent the need to visit a Post Office amid virus-related restrictions on movement;
  • Move the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot from noon on the Saturday before the vote to a week before the vote;
  • Release more of the available federal funds to Ohio’s 88 bipartisan county boards of elections to buy equipment or hire personnel needed to handle the heavier vote-by-mail load.

For more information on these proposed changes, please click here .
For comprehensive information on the results of the 2020 Primary Election, please visit click here .
To access local election results and voting information, please visit either the Summit County , Medina County or Portage County Boards of Elections.
Call to Action: Relaunching America's Workforce Act (RAWA)
The Greater Akron Chamber feels that investing in workforce and skills training will be critical to economic recovery efforts from COVID-19. As we look to the next phase of federal coronavirus stimulus in response regarding recovery efforts, workers and businesses desperately need Congress to include vital investments in skills that workers need to fill in-demand jobs and to return to the workforce once our economy reopens. On May 1st, members of the House of Representatives introduced  Relaunching America's Workforce Act (RAWA) , which calls for significant investment in workforce and skills in future stimulus packages. RAWA is a critical step, but inclusion of this funding in any future stimulus package  isn't guaranteed.

Understanding that workforce and skills training is a key aspect of economic recovery is of paramount importance. As you will find in our Public Policy Agenda , workforce and skills training is a key area of focus for us. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates workforce development efforts, therefore we feel that there is a need for additional attention and support. The GAC is working to support key partners like ConxusNEO by lending our voice to efforts that fund workforce and skills training efforts as part of economic recovery efforts in response to COVID-19, and we encourage all members to do the same.

Join us  to show a critical mass of stakeholder support by signing the letter by Friday, May 8th  and show Congress that investing in workforce and training workers for in-demand skills is critical to economic recovery from this crisis. If your organization is not able to sign on at this time, we encourage you to sign on as an individual by unchecking the organizational support box on the petition.
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Mergers
Recently, the Chamber, alongside our regional metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and other economic development partners, have been vocal in opposing efforts from Cuyahoga County and their MPO on merging the Akron and Canton MSAs into Cleveland’s. While expanding the Cleveland MSA may be viewed as something positive for the Greater Cleveland area, the Chamber and its partners categorically disagree. 

This effort is being driven by Cleveland’s MPO, which is called the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). They are pursuing this merger without support from the Akron or Canton MSAs, their respective MPOs, regional economic development organizations, or even broad support from Cleveland-based economic development partners. 

Currently, NOACA has been pitching this idea to various leaders within economic development, local government and community-based organizations on the benefits of a merger. For these efforts to prove successful, the U.S. Census Bureau would have to change various rules and regulations that they use to set MSA boundaries. To the best of our knowledge, there is an obvious lack of support from regional partners for the proposed merger, as well as multiple obstacles in amending the procedures of the U.S. Census Bureau. With that said, we still feel that it is important to socialize this issue and make you aware of the ongoing conversations. 

For additional information or to simply talk through the ongoing activities, please feel free to reach out directly to John Rizzo.  
For additional information, contact John Rizzo, Director of Government Affairs  jrizzo@greaterakronchamber.org.