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A camper plays Minecraft at the Danvers YMCA Summer Camp in Danvers, Massachusetts, earlier this month. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

The financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing YMCAs across the U.S. to close their doors.

Why it matters: In many communities, the local YMCA is a vital resource for youth in need of after-school activities, organized sports and summer camps. Local chapters also serve as food pantries and shelters during crises.

Driving the news: This week, the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities in Minnesota said it will close fitness centers in St. Paul, Lino Lakes and Prior Lake, and the organization is considering repurposing them as "community hubs," the StarTribune reports.

  • The Y in West Dallas also announced its closure, per the Dallas CBS affiliate. The closest Y location is 6 miles away, which is too far for children to travel after school or for families without cars.
  • The pandemic sped up the closure of a YMCA building in New Haven, Connecticut, which had been open since 1971, and was in need of expensive renovations. The community center is trying to build a new location, but has a long approval process ahead, per the New Haven Register.
  • In May, three Chicago-area Ys closed permanently due to the "enormous strain" from the coronavirus outbreak, per NBC5 Chicago.

Background: Many YMCAs were already struggling financially before the outbreak due to declining membership and increasing costs of maintaining old buildings.

What they're saying: "I'm very concerned, because like most nonprofits, most of our YMCAs don't have significant reserves," YMCA CEO Kevin Washington recently told Time. "We're sure that there will be some YMCAs that will not be able to survive."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

The Robinhood M&A rumor mill churns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Robinhood's valuation is now just over $11 billion, a fraction of where it traded in August and below that of its last private round of funding. Cue the M&A mongers.

Why it matters: It's not just Robinhood—falling values of growth-oriented tech stocks have raised speculation that formerly high-flying fintechs could be snapped up by more well-capitalized buyers.

3 hours ago - Health

Student's death renews calls for schools to stock opioid overdose drug

Photo: Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Connecticut student's death has renewed calls for schools to stock and administer naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Why it matters: U.S. drug overdose fatalities reached six figures in a 12-month period for the first time in November, and synthetic or natural opioids were the cause of a majority of the overdoses.