April 20, 2020
The Honorable Governor Eric J. Holcomb
Office of the Governor Statehouse
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2797
Dear Governor Holcomb,
As leaders of companies in the South Bend – Elkhart Region of Northern Indiana, we want to thank you for your leadership during this unprecedented health crisis. Your invitation for us to provide input on how we reopen our economy is appreciated. We have taken your request seriously. With the help of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, and the task force leaders mentioned below, we have gathered the input of over 220 companies representing over 84,000 employees in five key sectors: Hospitality, Healthcare, Manufacturing & Logistics, Professional Office, and Other Sectors. The attached report includes a summary and raw data aggregated from the input of these
Throughout our discussions, one theme resonated above all: Businesses in our region have given serious thought and consideration with respect to the policies and procedures required to ensure employee safety. The immediate responsiveness of companies demonstrates both their commitment to the success of our communities and the urgency of this situation. Like you, we are concerned for our employees’ safety, the security of their jobs, and the overall health of our economy. We are taking extraordinary measures to protect them, e.g. encouraging off-site work wherever possible, maintaining six-foot social distance for those on-site, limiting meeting size, rigorously cleaning the workplace and limiting access, among others. As we plan for the reopening of our economy, we suggest that the state government consider issuing a set of “Best Practice Guidelines” for companies to maximize safety while preserving jobs.
In order to provide you and your team insights into the current thinking of the business community with respect to how we might safely and responsibly return to work, we have provided input related to the following three areas:
- Plans to create a safe work environment based on today’s knowledge of how COVID-19
- Policies and procedures for containment if an outbreak occurs at a business
- Procedures for customers, suppliers and other non-employees entering a business
We understand there are multiple perspectives and important factors to balance as you contemplate how to move forward with opening our economy during this unpredictable health crisis. Each of us is continuously refining our specific plans as new information becomes available. It is our intent that this information is helpful in demonstrating the commitment of our business community to safely reopen our respective industries and help inform best practices of all Hoosier companies. We want to be as vigilant as possible while still protecting the health of our economy, our industries, our employees’ physical health, and their financial stability. On behalf of every business listed below, we appreciate your consideration and look forward to your feedback.
Rudy Yakym III
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
Return to Work Task Force:
Manufacturing & Logistics – Amish Shah, Kem Krest; Jason Lippert, LCI
Healthcare – Dr. Jesse Hsieh, Michiana VIP MD, Chairman Beacon Health System
Hospitality – Kurt Janowsky, Navarre Hospitality Group; Tammy Boetsma, Hacienda Mexican Restaurants
Professional Office – Brad Toothaker, Bradley Co.
Download the letter here.