A decision by the Simcoe/Muskoka YMCA to close three of its fitness centres is being met with shock and sadness.

CEO Rob Armstrong says with reduced capacity and extra costs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no longer financially viable to run existing fitness centres in Barrie, Orillia, and Parry Sound.

"We've talked about this a long time, and ran every scenario we could possibly think of," Armstrong says. "I'm emotional about it… I've worked for the Y a long, long time and never had to make decisions like this," he adds.

But Armstrong says an old building like the home of the Y in Barrie is expensive to run. In Orillia, the agency didn't think it could compete with the city's new recreation centre.

The closures mean about 100 people are losing their jobs.

The YMCA hopes to repurpose its Orillia facility. The plan in Parry Sound is to convert the space into a larger childcare centre.

In Barrie, the Y's Grove St facility has been sold to developers who plan to build apartments on the site.

Plans for a new YMCA on the grounds of the former Barrie Central Collegiate are still on the table, but the timeline is unknown.

The organization says it will continue to offer childcare and many other services to serve its community, just in a different way.

Day camps at all locations will continue until September.

While the existing Barrie site has been sold, staff will be in and out of the building until December as they figure out what to do with everything inside.