Greater Akron prides itself on being a welcoming community, and now we need to continue to be a safe one as well. The Greater Akron Safe Pledge Program helps visitors know our destination is taking precautions to keep everyone healthy and safe during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. By taking the Greater Akron Safe Pledge and participating in the program, your business joins others in the Greater Akron dining community committed to helping us stand out as a safe choice for visitors of all kinds.

Participating businesses will be required to view a COVID-19 Safe Workplace training recorded by the Summit County Health Department and complete a form attesting to the completion of the training.  In addition, those businesses that complete all the pledge requirements will be provided with a $2,500 award to help cover costs incurred to offer a safe, protected, dining experience. Funding associated with this program will be dispersed on a first-come-first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.

The pledge program outlines specific recommendations below, in accordance with all local, county and state health guidelines, for your business to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

  1. Have all employees participate in Summit County Health Departments COVID-19 Safe Training Program.
  2. Develop a COVID-19 safety plan consistent with the OSHA or CDC recommendations.
  3. Increase facility cleaning and disinfection to limit exposure to COVID-19.
  4. Reduce occupancy in common spaces to ensure compliance with CDC social distancing guidelines.
  5. Encourage customer hand washing/sanitizing and social distancing.
  6. Enhance employee protocols including increased regular hand washing, sanitization efforts, and social distancing.
  7. Require and encourage the use of face coverings by staff and customers as directed by governmental orders.
  8. Abide by applicable orders and directives issued by local, county, and state government public health officials.

Eligible Businesses

Currently, the only business types eligible to fully participate in the Akron Safe Pledge Program include Restaurants, Bars, and other Food Establishments.

All restaurants, bars, and other eating establishments must also meet the following criteria:

  • Location physically within Akron, OH city limits.
  • Employ between 3 and 40 people, including the owner and any full-time employees, part-time. employees, or individuals working under a 1099 or similar contractual agreement.

In addition to these requirements, a business will not be deemed eligible if:

  • The business is associated with the gambling, cannabis, or adult entertainment industries.
  • The business is a franchise.

Use of Award Funding & Restrictions

Awarded restaurants and food establishments will only use grant funds for approved allowable costs to meet COVID-19 Safe Pledge Guidelines and workplace improvements directly related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. This includes:

  • Investments to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as but not limited to:

                  o Purchases of personal protective equipment including Plexiglas shield(s) and facemasks for employees or customers

                  o Cleaning products and hand sanitizer

                  o Floor decals

  • Purchase or rental outdoor tables, tents, umbrellas, fencing or other equipment for outdoor dining areas
  • Remote access equipment and connectivity, such as computers, software, printers, and/or online meeting platforms for employers to enhance social distancing
  • Other workplace improvements directly related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 or support the implementation of the business’s COVID-19 Safety Plan

Application Process & Requirements

Interested businesses should begin by first submitting an eligibility application to City Council via electronically through the online Submittable portal. If this is your first time using Submittable you may be asked to create an account. Once you have created an account, you can monitor the status, submit an application and monitor the status of your application and log back in to complete the documentation phase later on in the program.

At this point, all applications will be reviewed for completeness and accuracy, as all information provided must be validated prior to moving applicants to the next stage of the program.

When an applicant passes the initial application review, they will receive a notice of approval via the email they provided in their application. This approval email will also include instructions on how to register for one of the Summit County Public Health Safe Pledge Trainings.

After the business owner and relevant staff (e.g., managers) complete the SCPH Safe Pledge Training, the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Checklist and sign a Beneficiary Agreement, the business owner should log back into their Submittable Portal Application to upload all requisite documentation.

Documentation Required for Initial Eligibility Application includes:

  • Signed and dated W-9: The business name, business address, and Taxpayer Identification Number on the W-9 must match the application
  • Documentation to validate an applicant’s Tax Identification Number (TIN):

                  o For most businesses a copy of a federal tax return will suffice

                  o If the business is a sole proprietor, then provide a copy of your 1040 Schedule C

Documentation Required to be Uploaded Prior to Stipend being Processed includes:

  • A copy of the business owner’s Certificate of Completion provided by Summit County Health Department
  • A copy of the business’s completed and signed COVID-19 Workplace Safety Checklist
  • A signed beneficiary agreement

After all application material has been submitted, City Council staff will review each application for completion and validate the information provided to ensure an applicant is eligible for a stipend. If additional information is needed or there are questions related to the information included in an application, City Council staff will reach out via email using the email address listed under Primary Contact in the application. If the City does not hear back within 7 business days following a request for additional information, the city retains the right to reject the application from qualifying for the stipend.

Distribution of Funds

Once an application is approved and a signed beneficiary agreement has been received the City will process your Safe Pledge stipend. All stipends will be awarded in the form of a check and mailed to the address in the application following final approval.

Program Contact

Dr. Joan Williams, Council Chief of Staff

City of Akron

All communications should be done through your Submittable portal to keep an efficient record. When communications come through your Submittable account, Submittable will send you an email notification. You should whitelist to prevent your spam filter from filtering out these notifications. 

You can find instructions on how to whitelist an email address here.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.