The lives of many across northern Ontario have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small businesses, gyms, and restaurants have all had to adapt to the changing health crisis.
The YMCA of Northeastern Ontario is no different. While its Sudbury facility is back open, its North Bay centre remains closed due to the region’s extended stay-at-home order.
It might not be business as usual over at the 'Y' in Sudbury, but staff and members are thrilled to have the building open again.
"We had a wonderful reception in the community," saidVice President Philanthropy, Marketing and Communications of the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario Nicole Beattie.
"The building was busy and sold lots of new memberships."
The aquatics centre re-opened Saturday and fitness classes resume this week. Youth programs will be back in April. It’s a different story in North Bay. The YMCA there remains closed.
"We need to follow public health guidance to make sure we’re all playing our part in preventing that transmission," said YMCA of Northeastern Ontario President and CEO Helen Francis.
Back in late September, the YMCA kick-started the ‘My Y Is Resilient’ fundraising campaign in an effort to save both buildings.
A total of $2 million within two years is needed from both North Bay and Sudbury. The campaign has raised almost $1 million to date.
"It is just outstanding seeing how many people have donated who have been impacted by the pandemic and the lockdown. We certainly are so grateful," said Beattie.
Unfortunately, due to lockdowns, layoffs have occurred. Many part-time students involved in the aquatics centre and the day camps were laid off. The YMCA has lost over $3million as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Fortunately the CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy)has helped to keep some of our full-timers employed," said Beattie.
"They make senior care calls or have been deployed to other areas of the 'Y' that are still essential."
Before the first lockdown, the YMCA lost about 65-70 per cent of its members. But with on facility back open, it is hopeful these clients will return soon.
"Many of the members that have come back tell us it’s so much like a second family," concluded Francis.
"They have a lot of friends they would ordinarily connect with."
To donate to the ‘My Y Is Resilient’ campaign, you can click here.