COVID-19 Response Update – July 6, 2020

We are Taking Steps

In light of some recent announcements from the provincial government, we wanted to provide an update on what these announcements mean to the YMCA of Niagara and our programs.

On this page, you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about individual services response to the COVID-19 situation, our temporary closures, and—most recently—planned reactivation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email: customerservice@niagara.ymca.ca

Reactivation Plan

This plan has been developed with partners in health, research and the private sector working alongside YMCA professionals from coast to coast.

We are in the process now of sharing this plan with our staff teams and working through staff training plans. Our No. 1 priority remains the Health and Safety of all staff, volunteers, families, members and community.

The Reactivation Plan features some revised and enhanced procedures designed to minimize the potential for virus transmission.

The complete plan is available here.

On May 27, the provincial government and health officials announced ongoing measures for the next several weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and stressed the importance of continued social and physical distancing.

In alignment with these “extremely serious” directives, our YMCA will not be reopening program sites until we are directed to do so.

Do note that Employment & Immigrant Services and EarlyON are servicing the community in a new virtual model.

This situation continues to evolve. It is not easy to predict how long these measures will remain in effect; however, our YMCA will continue to align our operational decisions with the directives of the government and health authorities.

Please bookmark this page and check back here for updates on individual programs.

We know you’re wondering when you can return to your Y’s Health, Fitness & Aquatics Facility and we can’t wait to have you; but for now, in accordance with the Provincial government’s direction, pools within our fitness facilities will remain closed until we can safely reopen.

Our HFA operations cannot restart until after the province declares Phase Three of reopening. We will apply a phased approach to restarting our programming. Rest assured we are working closely with local public health authorities on our planning for each area of the YMCA.

We’ve established key principles to guide how and when we will reactivate YMCA programs and services; we are driven by our commitment to your safety and that of our valued staff and volunteers. We will ensure our facilities meet the highest standards for hygiene and safety; including modifying programs and facility spaces to maintain safe physical distancing.

Please note all membership fees remain on hold. We will provide updates in the future regarding fee reactivation in advance, along with our reopening details. Thank you for your patience and continued support.

We look forward to sharing the details for reopening as soon as we can! Until then, you can enjoy your favourite workouts and activities for all ages online.

As we move into our phased approach to reopening child care we wanted to share with you some important updates. Licensed Child Care is starting to prepare to reopen licensed Pre School centres.

We want to thank our current child care families for sharing your intentions and needs for child care through our electronic Child Care Intention Forms.

We have been busy reviewing the Provincial Guidelines in consultation with Public Heath to ensure that all necessary requirements are understood and  addressed as we remain focused on ensuring safety for families, children and educators.

Our first phase of reopening will take place with our licensed preschool Child Care Centres. For more information, click here.

YMCA EarlyON Child and Family Centres are currently closed however our Program Facilitators continue to provide services for children, parents and caregivers virtually. We are able to support you, answer questions and provide resources by telephone, email and through our social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Parents and caregivers may also sign up for interactive sessions offered on line such as ‘Weekly Circle Time’, ‘Bedtime Story Sessions’ and ‘Parent Education Workshops’.

Reach us by telephone Monday to Friday.

Or contact us by email, at earlyon.admin@niagara.ymca.ca, with questions or to sign up for an interactive session with our Program Facilitators.

After careful consideration based on the latest COVID-19 developments and recommendations by local and regional health officials, we have decided to cancel our previously scheduled 2020 summer camp programs.

All families who have paid camp fees will receive a full refund. For more details, please click here.

The YMCA of Niagara has been exploring Day Camp models and options over the past many weeks. As a result of limited funding, resources and required regulations, the YMCA is not able to offer a traditional Day Camp program for the summer of 2020. This has been a difficult process and decision, and we hope to be able to offer Winter Break, March Break and Summer Camps in the future.

As of July 6, virtual Day Camp programming is available through the YCamp At Home and we encourage you to access a number of these exciting camp resources.

Health, Fitness and Aquatics

  • We are not taking any payments for fees during this closure and we will not resume taking payments until we reopen
  • Current HFA Memberships are effectively on hold
  • While you remain on hold, we will retain your spot in all registered program spots (such as swim lessons, martial arts, etc.) so that you will not have to re-register when we reopen
  • When we reopen we will review your account and adjust your next payment to reflect a credit for the period of closure as soon as possible

Licensed Child Care

  • For the month of March all licensed child care families were charged fees up to March 13
  • A communication was also sent to individual families with detailed information

All YMCA Employment & Immigrant Services locations in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Thorold are closed at this time to walk-in traffic. We’ve moved to a modified service model and continue to work with clients and the broader community virtually by e-mail, phone or text during this difficult time.

Our hours of operation remain unchanged, however: Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

For more information please contact:

St. Catharines

Your patience and support are greatly appreciated as we work through this evolving situation.

We are so grateful for the many expressions of support and encouragement, including members who have reached out specifically to ask how they can further support the YMCA by making a financial donation. To those members, we humbly thank you for asking and confirm that we continue to receive donations, and we will issue a tax receipt.

Here is a message from Kyle Barber, President & CEO, YMCA of Niagara

We would still like to be present in your fitness lives and encourage you to stay healthy and active. Watch our social media channels for YThrive fitness videos and homegrown videos from our own fitness staff designed to help you stay connected and healthy while we all do our part to maintain social distancing.

As our staff are working remotely now, we may not be able to answer your phone call in a timely manner. However, if you need to reach us or have any questions about your account, please email: customerservice@niagara.ymca.ca

Dear YMCA Member,

On March 12, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Public Health for Ontario, Dr. David Williams, recommended the immediate suspension of all significant events and public gatherings of over 250 people to eliminate the spread of COVID-19. Our top priority is the health and safety of our members, families, volunteers and staff. Moreover, as a socially responsible community organization we have determined that it is important that we help with public efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Yesterday, following the announcement that Ontario schools would close we had to make several decisions about many of our YMCA programs. Today, we have decided to close our Health, Fitness and Aquatics centres until April 5 inclusively. At this time, all of our YMCA programs are also suspended until April 5.  This decision will also allow our employees to take care of their families while schools and childcare are closed.

These are extraordinary circumstances and we thank you for your patience and understanding.

The municipal facilities and recreation centres in Niagara Falls, Grimsby, St Catharines, Port Colborne, and Welland have all closed for the same period of time. When we re-open we will review your account and adjust your next payment to reflect a credit for the period of closure.

Our YMCA is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support to our organization during these stressful times. Thank you to the many people in our community who have validated our decision to temporarily close. Some members have even offered to donate this month’s membership to the YMCA as a gesture of support. Given that the YMCA is a charity, we can provide you with a tax receipt for your generous donation.

Please note: We will also continue to monitor social media and update our website as this COVID-19 situation unfolds.

Kyle Barber

President & CEO
YMCAs of Niagara & Oakville