COVID-19 and the Y


The following are updates that may have also been sent to YMCA members. If you did not receive emails, but want to stay up-to-date, please feel free to adjust your preferences here

11-16-2020: Message to our Members from CEO, Brad Toft

Dear YMCA members,

I wanted to share with you the YMCAs' response to Governor DeWine's consideration of a second closing of "gyms" (along with bars and restaurants) due to Covid-19. The governor will share more this week. In the meantime, the YMCAs across Ohio are articulating our case on why closing gyms, especially YMCAs, is not a good move for the communities we serve.

Closing YMCAs Will Worsen the Harmful Effects of COVID-19

YMCAs in Ohio support the Governor’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. We contribute to that cause by operating clean and safe facilities while keeping people physically and mentally healthy. We urge him not to worsen the harmful effects of Covid-19 on our communities by closing YMCAs. We are essential in every community we serve, providing an array of social assistance and wrap-around services, and we cannot endure another closing. 

On March 16, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine ordered gyms and fitness centers to close indefinitely. On March 26, child care centers were ordered closed except pandemic child care for essential workers. YMCAs across the state were devastated by both orders as fitness centers are our primary source of revenue and child care centers are also a key financial driver.

As The New York Times reported in July, before the pandemic, Ys were typically operating on margins of 3% or less, but the closings pushed revenues down 30-50% nationwide. Most YMCAs had furloughed 70-95% of their workers. Ohio’s 162 Ys have already lost $78 million in revenue and over 200,000 members this year.

Yet, as nonprofits serving their communities, most Ohio Ys quickly pivoted and stood up pandemic child care centers to serve essential workers, because that is what our communities needed. In doing so, many Ys took another hit as providing pandemic child care services also hurt us financially. Ys also provided free virtual programming to all, served over 1,400 children per day in child care in a Covid world, over 3,000 youth per day through feeding programs, and over 10,000 seniors per month with virtual well checks.

Since fitness centers and child care centers were allowed to reopen, Ys again pivoted. We have provided exceptionally safe branches and programming, meeting and exceeding CDC and health department guidelines. Our school-age child programs are supporting students learning virtually, providing for them even as school districts change back and forth from in-school to out-of-school settings.

As essential community centers, Ys across Ohio have been clawing their way back to sustainability though none have come close to break even. Now, Governor DeWine is again threatening to close gyms and fitness centers, including YMCAs.  

As a nonprofit committed to healthy living, we again support all efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. However, YMCAs are not the problem. We meet or exceed the strictest CDC and health department requirements for Covid prevention. Since May 1, the YMCA of Greater Toledo has seen only 10 cases of Covid-19 from nearly 365,000 visits to our nine branches. Contract tracing has shown no cases of transmission of Covid-19 at local Y branches. 

Shuttering YMCAs again will cause us financial devastation that will not be recoverable. When that happens, the cost to communities will be likewise catastrophic. The critical services Ys provide across the state, notably childcare, camps, active older adult programming, swimming lessons, food distribution, sports training, wellness programs, and more, will cease to be available. No one is turned away from a Y, so low-income individuals and families who have benefitted from our financial aid will have nowhere to go. 

Also, at risk are thousands of YMCA jobs in our region and our state overall and the shuttering of dozens of branches in cities large and small.  

Ohio’s YMCAs are advocating for the thousands of Ohioans who count on us for jobs, services, and the essential work we do in communities across the state. We are uniformly joined in the fight against the negative effects of Covid-19.  Shuttering YMCAs will do inestimable damage both in the short and long term that will inordinately affect those most at risk.  We implore the Governor to not make Ys across our state and the communities they serve the unintended victims of an unnecessary shutdown.

Brad Toft
President and CEO
YMCA of Greater Toledo

5-08-2020: Message to our Members from CEO, Brad Toft

NOTE: There is a survey at the bottom of this message that I hope you will take to help the YMCA prepare to reopen (the timing of which is still unknown).

As always, I hope this message finds you safe and healthy.

Several of us at the YMCA listened to Gov. DeWine’s news conference yesterday. In fact, we tune into the governor’s remarks (and those of Dr. Acton) regularly now to see how the Y will be impacted.

The fourth step in the Responsible RestartOhio plan – involving restaurants, bars and personal care services – moves us a little closer to pre-Covid-19 life. We expect Gov. Whitmer to follow when her team deems Michigan ready to start reopening.

At the YMCA, we are ready to start reopening branches when our state and public health authorities decide it is time. We will reopen with a long list of changes already completed in our facilities, as well as new measures and practices to be put in place on “day 1” to protect our members and staff.

With all that said, state mandates and our readiness to reopen branches may or may not mean you personally are ready to walk through the doors of your local Y branch. To help us prepare for reopening, we’d like to know how you’re feeling about returning to the YMCA.

This survey consists of just 7 questions and will take just a minute of your time. We’d appreciate your input. 

Stay healthy and safe. And we look forward to seeing you again.

Brad Toft

4-18-2020: Message to our Active Older Adults Y Members:


Dear Active Older Adult members of the YMCA,

I hope this message finds you safe and well. Stay-at-home orders are testing all of us. To help YMCA members (and non-members) stay active during this crisis, we have created a “virtual health hub,” which now includes 70 workouts and activities for people of all ages.

At the bottom of this message, I have included direct links to many workouts I thought you might be particularly interested in.

A Favor to Ask You – and an Easy Way to Help the YMCA

Many insurance companies will reimburse the YMCA when you complete the workouts listed below in the same manner they reimbursed us when you swiped in at your local branch.

The Y will be reimbursed if you sign in before or after you complete the workout. To sign in, go to our virtual health hub (and scroll down just a bit) or click here. All we need is your name (and your YMCA keycard number is helpful too).

The income/reimbursements from these classes will help us sustain some of the community support efforts during the crisis, such as:

  • Running 3 grab-and-go community food stations that has now served thousands of free meals to families in need
  • Operating 4 pandemic child care centers that provide kids of hospital and other essential employees safe, fed, and learning
Healthy Eating during Covid-19 webcast

A Registered Dietitian from GemCare, Divya Aggarwal, will host a free and live webcast on Thursday, April 24, at 11 a.m. Topics to be addressed are very relevant in light of the Covis-19 crisis and stay-at-home orders.

Weight Loss
  • Build balanced meals

  • Know proper portion sizes and portion control strategies

  • Stay active while at home

Immune Boosting Nutrients
  • Learn key immune boosting nutrients (e.g. Vitamin C, D + A, Protein and Zinc)

  • Discover foods that are great sources of these nutrients

  • Discover recipes that are great sources of these nutrients

To join the webcast, click this link on Thursday at 11 a.m., sign-up here --

A direct link to the webcast will then be emailed to you (as well as follow-up materials after the event). You can then click on the link just before 11:30 next Thursday to participate.

About the Registered Dietitian

Divya Aggarwal MS, RDN, LD: Divya Aggarwal is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University and her Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Columbia University, and she completed her training in dietetics at Cornell University. Divya has been a Health and Wellness Coach with GemCare Wellness (a partner of the YMCA of Greater Toledo) for 3 years and believes everyone has the power to achieve optimal health.

On behalf of the whole YMCA team, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Brad Toft
President & CEO
YMCA of Greater Toledo


P.S. Here’s the current list of online workouts that might be of interest. We’re adding new workouts every week.

4-17-2020: Message from CEO: Brad Toft

Dear YMCA members,

Like you, I’m more than ready for a return to normalcy. I want to go to all my regular places – including the Y, of course – without worry of Covid-19. Following the stay-at-home orders, though, is clearly in my best interest and health, not to mention my family.

What’s also in my best interest, and yours too, is keeping our bodies and minds moving as best we can. Our wellness team continues to create workouts and activities for people of all ages – from active older adults to kids. The Y’s virtual health hub now includes 70 workouts and activities ranging from drawing to dance to reflections from our chaplain Abimbola Fajobi.

Next week, we’re adding more recorded workouts, plus these resources:

  • Livestreamed (YMCA-MOSSA) workouts led by our own instructors. More information and the workouts themselves are coming soon via a private Facebook group. Click here to join:
  • 6-week Virtual Wellness Challenge running April 20 to May 31. Just click on the link to sign up. The essence of this challenge is a wide-ranging checklist of activities to keep our bodies and minds active. If you complete one activity, in particular, then you will get the chance to win some Y-branded merchandise.
  • ‘Healthy Eating during Covid-19’ webcast. During this free online event, a registered dietitian from our nutrition partner GemCare will offer tips on weight loss and boosting your body’s immune system. Learn more and sign up here.

All of these wellness initiatives are open to YMCA members and non-members alike.

Your local Y team is also busy with efforts I mentioned in previous messages:

  • Running 3 grab-and-go community food stations that has now served thousands of free meals to families in need
  • Operating 4 pandemic child care centers that provide kids of hospital and other essential employees safe, fed, and learning
  • Reaching out to senior members who are most susceptible to social isolation

I’d be remiss if I also didn’t thank so many of you who continue your monthly membership payments even while our branches are closed. This income allows us to deliver the critical support described above.

Thank you again for your support of the YMCA. Stay safe and stay healthy.


Brad Toft
President and CEO
YMCA of Greater Toledo

4-3-2020: Join Us for Online Info Sessions on COVID-19 on Wed, April 8


Hello, and I hope this message finds you well. On behalf of the YMCA, we look forward to seeing you again soon in one of our branches.

In the meantime, with the Area Office On Aging of Northwest Ohio, the YMCA will offer three online informational sessions related to COVID-19. Each session will cover these topics with these presenters:

  • Best Practices for Prevention – Regina Russell, RN, BSN, MPH, Director of Plan 4 Home Program, Area Office On Aging, and Ireatha Hollie, R.Ph., Director of Medical Education, Area Office On Aging
  • Resources Available to the Community – Regina Russell and Ireatha Hollie of the Area Office on Aging
  • Staying Active and Fit – Beth Deakins, MPH, Director of Healthy Living, YMCA of Greater Toledo

After the presenters’ prepared remarks, you will have the opportunity to ask questions online. You can also submit questions during the registration process (see links below) or by responding to this email to me before or during the event.

These info sessions will be on Wednesday, April 8, at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.

Register in advance for the first session by clicking here – April 8 at 10 am 

Register in advance for the second session by clicking here – April 8 at 1 pm

Register in advance for the third session by clicking here – April 8 at 3 pm

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting.

We hope you can join us!

BJ Duckworth
Executive Director of Membership

4-2-2020: Message from YMCA President Brad Toft


Dear YMCA members,

I’m writing to update you on some of the ways the YMCA is still serving our communities.

Before I do that, I would like to express our sincere gratitude at the Y to so many of you who have chosen to continue your monthly membership payments. Again, the Y is so much more than a “gym,” and that has never been truer than in challenging times like these.

The efforts you see below require resources. To secure the resources for those in dire need in our communities, the YMCA of Greater Toledo still needs income. It’s that simple.

I can’t express it enough – Thank you for supporting our work in the Toledo area with your monthly membership payment.

How Else Can the YMCA Help?

After you read about our efforts highlighted below, I have a question for you on behalf of the YMCA: During the pandemic, do you see other opportunities for the Y to support your family and/or neighbors in:

  • Improving people’s health and well-being?
  • Developing children and youth?
  • Bringing people together?

If you have an idea (or two), simply respond to this email. I can’t say what ideas we will implement, but we will certainly take every idea to heart in assessing how the Y continues to best serve the Toledo area.

YMCA Efforts Expanding as the Pandemic and Lockdowns Continue

Below are details of how four key programs have grown in use in just the past week.

Pandemic Child Care

90 families have enrolled, a number we expect to grow. These families – at least for now – include a parent who works in a local hospital with one child or more who needs care while Mom/Dad are working. These individuals have enough stress without worrying if their child is being well cared for.

Free Food Stations

In a typical day, 3 YMCA branches-converted-to-community-food-stations distribute more than 600 meals to families hit hardest by the pandemic and its ripple effects.

Senior Outreach

Our membership team has reached out to nearly 800 of our “active older adult” members. As the stay-at-home orders go on, loneliness becomes a real issue, particularly for seniors.

Virtual Health Hub

Our Wellness team continues to add workouts to this page and is now offering classes via Facebook Live. We’ve added more kids activities to help parents with ideas on keeping the whole family active. Please click on the link above to learn more.

Remember the question I asked above. If you have an idea on how else the YMCA can serve your community, please share it.

As I told my team yesterday via web conference, it’s OK to laugh, and it’s OK to cry. Keep being compassionate toward one another, and we’ll make it through this crisis together.

Finally, know that you and your family remain in our prayers at the YMCA.

In good health,

Brad Toft 

3-25-2020: Message from YMCA President & CEO Brad Toft


Dear YMCA members,

These are challenging times for all of us. On behalf of the YMCA, you and your family remain in our thoughts and prayers.

The Y has been affected in big ways by the measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Yet, while other “gyms” in the area are completely closed, the YMCA remains busy.

The YMCA of Greater Toledo isn’t just a gym. It’s a nonprofit organization created to serve this community. Our “profit” is measured by outcomes in these areas:

  • Helping kids succeed in school
  • Improving people’s health and well-being (spirit, mind and body)
  • Bringing people together

We too have closed facilities, as required, but we continue to serve the communities in and around Toledo. Highlights of this service through today include:

  • Free Community Food Stations: We have converted three of our branches to community food stations. We’re providing 200 meals daily to youth and families in need.
  • Meal Delivery with the United Way : The Y has committed our fleet of buses to aid the United Way in delivering meals to 40 other food stations in our region.
  • Pandemic Child Care: Starting tomorrow, we will provide child care to hospital employees, so they’re able to do their jobs and do them with greater peace of mind related to their children’s care.
  • Virtual Health Hub: We’ve already been posting workouts and activities through our social channels and today launched a hub on our website with dozens more. The goal is simple: help you and your family keep bodies and minds active. We hope you will use this service in lieu of the Y facilities during this period to remain active.
  • Senior Outreach: We have been calling many of our ‘active older adult’ members to simply ask how they’re doing to sustain a sense of belonging and camaraderie: seniors are most susceptible to suffering from loneliness. Partnering with the Area Office on Aging, the Y will also conduct virtual town hall meetings on topics of interest to active older adults.
  • Firefighter Quarantined Housing: We have set up a section of our Francis Family YMCA to provide quarantined housing for Bedford firefighters who could have been exposed to the virus.

Stay With Us

Thanks to so many of you who have kept your membership active and continue to pay monthly. To others, I respectfully ask that you consider keeping your membership active. Your monthly payments help the Y deliver the types of service described above. Our communities’ needs have never been greater.

I understand that your own financial situation may require suspending the monthly Y expense. If that is the case, I ask you to place your membership on hold at no cost during this time; just email Your membership will be placed on hold for one month.

If you need a second or third month suspended simply reach back out 7-10 days prior to your payment date, and we can process those requests.

Thanks for your support of the YMCA, and good healthy to you and your family.

Brad Toft
President and CEO
YMCA of Greater Toledo




Three YMCA of Toledo branches, after closing due to the COVID-19 virus, will reopen on Friday, March 20, to serve the community as grab-and-go food stations. Specifically, the branches will provide free meals for youth 18 and under.

Parents interested in the service should call United Way’s 211 number to reserve their meals, which are being donated by A Village on Adams, the nonprofit arm of Manhattans Restaurant. Parents can pick up lunch, as well as a breakfast for the following morning, for each of their children 18 years old and younger. Reserving the meals ahead of time will help prevent the YMCA food stations from running short on food.

The meals meet USDA standards for school meals. No proof of income is necessary.

The meals can be picked up Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the following:

  • Eastern Community YMCA – 2960 Pickle Road, Oregon
  • Wayman D. Palmer Community YMCA – 2053 N. 14th Street, Toledo
  • Wolf Creek YMCA – 2100 S. Holland-Sylvania Road, Maumee



Dear YMCA members,

Per executive orders from the governors of Michigan and Ohio earlier this afternoon, we are closing all YMCA of Greater Toledo branches by close-of-business today (March 16) until further notice.

These COVID-19-driven changes feel counter to one of the fundamental reasons the YMCA exists – bringing people together to strengthen themselves and their community.

Nonetheless, we will of course follow the mandates of our government leaders and health authorities for the health and safety of our staff, members and community at large.

Temporary branch closures, coupled with prior decisions to suspend Storer’s outdoor education program and school-age child care, will put a great financial strain on the YMCA. I ask you to consider continuing your monthly membership payments. If you do, we will acknowledge them at the end of the year as charitable contributions (for the associated tax benefits).

As a nonprofit organization, we are already exploring different ways to continue supporting the community and people who need it most. Two programs being considered in partnership with other nonprofit organizations are:

  • Repurposing some YMCA facilities as temporary food stations (YMCA child care sites provide many kids with breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Providing child care to critical needs personnel (with one example being medical professionals) who are likely facing long hours in the weeks ahead

The YMCA will continue to process membership fees as scheduled. Members may request a 1-month hold through an email to Again, please consider continuing payments to support our ongoing work in the community.

Child care centers inside the Wayman Palmer, Sylvania and East branches will also suspend operations today (March 16).

For all members who’d like to exercise at home in the weeks ahead, we will offer a free streaming service 60 days from when they sign up. You’ll be able to stream 9 workouts ranging from cardio to flexibility to strength from the comfort of your own home. Learn more at

People of all ages and organizations of all types are feeling the impact of this pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted directly by COVID-19 and indirectly by its social and economic consequences.

The past week has been a challenging one for all of us. Fighting the spread of COVID-19 will mean that we need to maintain social connections in different ways. We plan to stay in touch with you in the days and weeks to come via digital channels.

We will have a greatly reduced staff at the Y preparing to restart when this health crisis is resolved. At that time, we believe the need to improve people’s health and well-being, develop our youth and bring people together will be greater than ever. The Y plans to continue being part of the solution to some of the biggest challenges facing our community.

Again, we will stay in touch via digital channels and look forward to seeing you again – in person – soon.

In good health,

Brad Toft
President and CEO
YMCA of Greater Toledo


YMCA Members, program participants and communities, 

With the most recent news regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases in Ohio, and updated news from the Governor’s office, we want to communicate our plans with you.

As always, the health and safety of our staff, members and participants remain our top priority.  

We have enhanced our cleaning protocols to give focused attention to all surfaces, equipment and common areas. More specifically, we are wiping down all high-touch areas and surfaces three additional times daily. We are actively reinforcing the preventative measures outlined by the CDC and ensuring that hand sanitizing stations and wipes to clean equipment continue to be available in all our facilities.

Proper chlorination of our pools would prevent transmission of COVID-19 if an infected person were in one of them.

We are doing the same at our child care sites, and strengthening our practices at our outdoor camp in Jackson, Michigan.


Child Care:

  • At the end of the day on March 13, 2020, all school-based child care sites will close, in accordance with the recent school-related news from the Governor’s Office on 3/11/20 regarding school closures.
  • School-age sites include: Beverly, Brynedale, Crissey, DeVeaux, Elmhurst, Fort Meigs, Glenwood, Grove Patterson, Maumee, Old-Orchard, Ottawa Hills, Rosa Parks, Starr
  • Our Early Education sites (8), will remain open to our currently enrolled children.
  • These sites include: Eastern YMCA Branch, St. Charles, Owens, Fort Meigs CDC, Anderson Center, Sylvania YMCA/JCC, Wayman Palmer YMCA, Whitmer CDC.
  • We will NOT be accepting any new enrollment at this time, for any site, for the next 3 weeks.
  • If your child(ren) is currently enrolled in a child care site, please reach out to the staff there regarding upcoming changes.
  • We will continue monitoring the news from the appropriate health agencies and communicate any changes to our plans.

Youth Programing:

In light of recent recommendations from the Governor’s Office, we will be restricting the number of spectators for Y athletic competitions, so that each child will be accompanied by only 2 family members. This includes gymnastics, swimming, and other athletic events.

The Jr. Cavs program will be delayed, practice & game schedules will be communicated directly to those families affected.

Gymnastics Center (Perrysburg):

Effective March 15, all programming at the YMCA of Greater Toledo Gymnastics Center, located in Perrysburg, is suspended until March 30. The center itself will also be closed during this time. With any questions, please reach out to the Fort Meigs YMCA at (419) 251-9622

Chronic Disease Prevention Programs:

  • Livestrong @ the Y,
  • Diabetes Prevention
  • Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring

These have been put on hold at this time, this is in line with recommendations from the CDC.

Guest pass usage is suspended until further notice.

Towel service is suspended until further notice as well. This includes Downtown, Fort Meigs and Sylvania branches.


  • Branches will run at normal operating hours, unless otherwise noted
  • Group fitness classes, paid and free, still taking place as scheduled.
  • Programs such as art classes, swim lessons, gymnastics etc. are still taking place as scheduled.
  • KidZones are still open, with increased cleaning
  • Healthy Weight and Your Child Program is still taking place as scheduled.

Maintaining a Healthy Environment  

Health officials continue to advise us on the importance of being vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread of illness. We can all immediately continue to support a healthy Y and community by following these common-sense precautions: 

Should this issue escalate across the communities we serve, we will take the necessary precautions to ensure that you, along with our staff and participants, are safe.  

You can find additional resources and information on the Coronavirus here: 

Thank you for working with us to ensure the health of your fellow members, our YMCA and the community.