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Visit Canton's mission is to attract and engage visitors, engage regional tourism partners, and to generate economic development through travel and tourism development.  Tourism is a $1.7 Billion industry in Stark County.  Tourism contributes to the quality of life, job market and local tax base generating $36,760,320 in local taxes and supporting 1 in 13 full time jobs in Stark County.  Learn More


COVID-19 and the Tourism Industry | Visit Canton is making every effort to stay informed on relevant updates regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  We will work to share pertinent information and resources with you, and the team at Visit Canton is available to serve as a resource for your business.  


Ohioans ordered to Stay-At-Home

On April 2, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton is issuing a new order to extend the state's stay-a-home order until May 1. The director's order by the Ohio Department of Health prohibits gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential businesses. 

The order requires Ohioans to stay at home with the exception of the following:

  • for health and safety
  • for necessary supplies and services
  • for outdoor activities, such as walking or visiting a park (playground visitation is prohibited)
  • to report for essential work as discussed below
  • to take care of others

>>> EXTENDED STAY AT HOME ORDER THROUGH MAY 1

ORIGINAL STAY AT HOME ORDER THROUGH APRIL 6

STAY AT HOME FAQ

IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS

Monitor updated policies and recommendations from public health authorities:

See tourism industry specific resources provided by the Ohio Travel Association:

ECONOMIC RELIEF RESOURCES
Keep track of lost business revenue for potential financial relief, and keep your employees informed about options for assistance with lost wages.

  • U.S. Small Business Administration: The State of Ohio has qualified for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. As a result, Ohio businesses and non-profits economically impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 may now apply for a low-interest loan of up to $2 million to help pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. You can apply for the loan online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/, which is recommended, or by calling 1-800-659-2955 to have an application mailed to you.
  • Health Insurance Premiums - Payment Deferrment 
    During a press conference on March 20th, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that Ohio employers will be able to defer payments for health insurance premiums for up to two months. The Ohio Department of Insurance is issuing an order to allow employers a grace period for up to 60 days allowing employers to continue providing coverage to employees while also being relieved from those payments immediately. Insurers must cover workers even if the employee would otherwise become ineligible because of a decrease in hours. Details will be published soon, press conference info here.
  • Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation - Payment Deferrment: BWC insurance premium installment payments due for March, April and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020, at which time the matter will be reconsidered. This is for public and private employers.  BWC will not lapse (cancel) coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Info Here
  • Federal Income Tax Extension: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return. This relief only applies to federal income returns and tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. Tax Extension Information
  • Do you have Small Business Questions for the State of Ohio? Contact them by emailing BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.com
  • Children of Restaurant Employees COREgives.org: Support for children of food and beverage service employees 
  • USBG National Charity Foundation: Bartender Emergency Assistance Program 
  • Liquor Buy Back Program: 877-812-0013  Return unopened high-proof liquor to the agency where it was purchased. Details of the buy-back of liquor purchased in the last 30 days can be found by calling.
  • Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: COVID-19 and Unemployment Insurance Benefits The Governor will issue an executive order, which will grant the ODJFS with the authority to accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation suspending the normal one-week waiting period.  This order will also give relief to applicants who are not offered paid leave through their job, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional, their employer, or whose employers must temporarily close.  Those who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work.
  • Grantmakers in the Arts: COVID-19 and Arts Funding Listing of resources for the arts and culture sector.

CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
Keep in mind these recommended best practices for customer care during this challenging time for everyone:

  • Inform the public about changes to business hours and cancellations or rescheduling of events and programs. Remember to submit changes to VisitCanton.com via your partner login or contact Laura Felberg at laurap@visitcanton.com.
  • If your business is open, implement and communicate with visitors the methods for additional cleaning, disinfecting, and social distancing that abide by recommendations and mandates of public health officials. 
  • Offer flexible refund policies and reschedule events where possible. Understand that we are all facing unprecedented times and uncertainty. Helping guests reschedule visits will help you retain business.  If you cannot accommodate a group or event, let Visit Canton assist with other venue options in Stark County.  Contact maryv@visitcanton.com.
  • #CarryOutWednesday This is an initiative from the National Restaurant Association to promote your restaurant or the local restaurants in your community! Help support #carryoutwednesday on social media - dine and post on social media and post with the hashtag: #carryoutwednesday Download free materials from the National Restaurant Association to use for promotion of #carryoutwednesday 
     

REBOOK GROUPS & EVENTS IN STARK COUNTY

  • Re-book groups and events if possible. If you cannot accommodate a group or event at your venue, please let Visit Canton help!
  • Contact Mary Vlahos at mary@visitcanton.com so we that we can help groups and events find alternative options while keeping the business here in Stark County.
  • Visit Canton has an Event Support Grant system currently in place. We hope this will be an incentive for organizations to re-book their event in 2020. Please have Group organizers contact Mary Vlahos to apply for an event grant. Qualifying events would utilize blocks of 50 hotel rooms or more in Stark County in 2020. All group contact and event information will remain confidential and not shared with other properties. These are, and will remain, your clients.
  • Reporting: It is always good to have a hospitality barometer for our county. We will be sharing a first quarter overview of Stark County, as well as some of our surrounding county's hotel statistics, with regard to Occupancy, ADR, and RevPar with any partners who wish to receive it. Please respond to Angie Gergely at angieg@visitcanton.com to receive this report, scheduled to be sent in mid-April. Additional reports will follow mid-month.

VISIT CANTON IS HERE TO SPREAD THE WORD: Please let Allison Rowe know if you have promotions to share. AllisonR@VisitCanton.com

  • Outdoor Recreation: If you are a park or golf course and you are open, please let us know if you have any special promotions we can share with locals.
  • Hotels: If you are a hotel who has a special or deal, please let us know!
  • Virtual Tours and Experiences: Consider creative options to engage visitors such as Facebook Live programs, YouTube for speaking engagements, and expanded options for online shopping. Include opportunities to donate via Facebook while offering digital experiences to guests.
  • To Go and Delivery Service: Do you have a new menu available for to go orders?  Have you expanded to delivery service?  Let us know how visitors can enjoy local restaurant offerings from home. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LIST!

Visit Canton Cancellations & Updates: Please note the following cancellations and changes from Visit Canton:

  • Downtown Canton Visitor Information Center: Closed
  • Pigskin Pals Program: The Spring Break 2020 promotional period is suspended effective immediately. Registration is still open for future promotional periods.  The Summer Break promotional period is scheduled to begin on June 1st.
  • MPI Ohio Chapter Meeting - March 18: Cancelled
  • STAR Session II - April 7: Postponed
  • Around Town Roundtable - April 16: Cancelled
  • Tourism Tailgate - May 7: Cancelled
  • Visit Canton Sales Mission to Columbus: Rescheduled from May 13 to July 16

Spring/Summer Event Guide
Due to mandatory event cancellations, we have decided to combine the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter Event Guides for 2020. Please stay tuned for more information on this publication as we are working to put together a plan. Events will likely be due for submission in Mid-May so please keep this date in mind as we move forward.
Visit Canton Staff

Visit Canton Staff: Many of the Visit Canton staff members are now working remotely from home. Please see our staff listing if you need assistance in contacting us via email. We are also checking our voicemails regularly and using cell phones to respond to your calls. Visit Canton Staff Listing


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