Important Updates 

Keep informed of new updates on what TOPS is doing to protect and inform members amid COVID-19 concerns.

Updates to TOPS Meeting Ban and Headquarters Operations 

(March 25, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.)  

TOPS Meeting Ban Update

At this time, all TOPS meetings throughout the US and Canada still are banned through Sunday, April 12. Because the situation with COVID-19 remains fluid, a final determination regarding when and how the TOPS meeting ban will be lifted will not be announced until very close to the April 12 date.


TOPS Headquarters Services Update

In compliance with the order issued by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on March 24, TOPS Headquarters in Milwaukee will provide basic services using a greatly reduced number of staff as outlined in the order. The Wisconsin Governor’s order is in effect until 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, unless a superseding order is issued in the meantime.

The Governor’s order has no bearing on the TOPS meeting ban.

As always, your local Field Staff are available to answer questions and provide basic chapter supplies and support during this time. For Field Staff contact information, click Find a Meeting and enter your ZIP or postal code.

TOPS Headquarters is proud to continue providing you with service and support in the following ways:

  • Memberships and renewals continue to be processed in a timely manner. See below for details.
  • Online orders from the TOPS store on www.tops.org are being fulfilled and shipped once weekly.
  • TOPS member support in the form of regular email newsletters and online services available to all members in the Members Area of www.tops.org will continue as usual.  In addition:
    • Webinar on "2020 Diet Trends" will go on as scheduled on March 26. We plan to post a recording for all members to review later.
    • TOPS News May/June issue is at the printer and expected to be released as usual, assuming that further governmental orders do not interfere with the operations of the printing and mailing services used to produce and distribute TOPS News.
    • Social Media updates to keep you informed and inspired will continue to be posted periodically, although it may take longer to respond to private messages.
  • Virtual Chapter Meetings will continue as scheduled. Please note that due to system limitations, there is a temporary moratorium on members of in-person chapters switching to the Virtual Chapter.
  • Recognition Days events continue to be rescheduled as dictated by local authorities and hosting facilities in each state or province. Please see the list of rescheduled events below. Coordinators are reaching out to chapters in their areas as new event information becomes available.
Please carefully review the frequently asked questions below for additional details regarding these updates and other relevant information.

How is Corona Virus Affecting TOPS Meetings and Members?

(Last updated March 25 at 6:30 p.m.) 

What about KOPS members who were out of leeway at their last weigh-in?

All KOPS who were out of leeway at their last chapter weigh-in must register a weight within leeway at the first available meeting after the ban is lifted to maintain status. Those who are not weighed at the first available meeting lose status as do those KOPS members who are absent for the meeting. This policy does not apply to all KOPS - only those out of leeway at their last official weigh-in.

How do I renew my membership during the meeting ban so I don’t miss my TOPS News magazine?

Members whose renewals are due on or before April 30, 2020, may renew their memberships online during this time or mail in their renewal with a personal check. Chapter Treasurers may also continue to mail renewals sent to them by members with a chapter check. Once the meeting ban is lifted, the rule that memberships must be paid with a chapter check (or renewed by member online) will be reinstated.

Will the online meetings be made available to members of in-person chapters during the outbreak?

No. Our Virtual Chapter meetings are not capable of accommodating that many additional users. Please note that there is now a moratorium on members of in-person chapters switching to online meetings.

TOPS is looking into other options for providing support during the meeting ban and will announce those on our Facebook page and in the Members Area of www.tops.org. In the meantime, we recommend that you weigh yourself regularly at home to stay accountable and to keep in touch with fellow members via mail, phone, email or social media.

What if our meeting place is closed after the ban on TOPS meetings ends?

Chapters whose meeting place remains closed, such as a school, workplace, or public building, shall cancel meetings until their meeting place is available again. As always, chapter Weight Recorder(s) are to mark NM for “no meeting” on weight charts for those dates. Members can read more about canceling meetings after signing in to our website.

How Is the Coronavirus Affecting TOPS Events?

(Last updated March 16, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. Central time) Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions members have sent us over the last few days. Others may be added as we work our way through this very fluid situation. Any updates will be posted in The Skinny from TOPS in the Members Area.

Are you canceling International Recognition Days in Niagara Falls, July 17-18?

At this time, we have no intention to cancel IRD. If this outbreak follows the pattern of similar epidemics, it is likely to taper off by summer. If necessary, we are likely to reschedule rather than to cancel. In case of cancellation, refunds for registration fees only will be issued.

What about State and Provincial Recognition Days?

The list of International, State, Provincial and Area Royalty and Division Winners is being frozen this year so that anyone in an at-risk category will not be endangered and anyone whose SRD, PRD or ARD is canceled or rescheduled will not be penalized.

Recognition Days activities will be addressed in each state or province as circumstances evolve. Your Coordinator will be reaching out to you in the coming days and weeks with updates. Some events already are being rescheduled as facility availability allows. Leaders will be informed of any changes as soon as details are finalized in your area. As always, members are encouraged to take responsibility for their personal needs and to act in their own best interest. 

Here’s the list of rescheduled events in alphabetical order as of 12:25 p.m. Central time on March 27:

 

  • Alberta PRD moved to October 16-17
  • Arkansas SRD moved to June 19-20
  • British Columbia - Southern ARD moved to October 23-24
  • British Columbia - Northern ARD moved to August 28-29
  • British Columbia - Other ARDs - new dates pending 
  • California - Central ARD moved to August 7-9
  • California - Northern ARD moved to August 21-22
  • California - Southern ARD moved to August 28-29
  • Connecticut SRD - new date pending
  • Delaware SRD moved to May 23
  • Georgia SRD moved to September 18-19
  • Illinois - Northern ARD moved to June 5-6
  • Illinois - Southern ARD moved to June 26-27
  • Indiana SRD - Unchanged at this time (corrected)  
  • Iowa SRD moved to May 15-16
  • Kansas SRD moved to June 19-20
  • Louisiana SRD moved to May 1-2
  • Maine SRD moved to August 8
  • Manitoba PRD moved to September 25-26
  • Maryland SRD moved to September 18-19
  • Massachusetts SRD moved to September 18-19
  • Michigan SRD - new date pending
  • Minnesota SRD - new date pending
  • Missouri SRD moved to May 22-23
  • Montana SRD moved to June 19-20
  • New Brunswick PRD - new date pending
  • New Hampshire SRD - new date pending
  • New Jersey SRD moved to May 29-30
  • New Mexico SRD moved to August 14-15
  • North Carolina SRD moved to August 28-29
  • North Dakota SRD moved to May 15-16
  • Nova Scotia ARDs - new dates pending
  • Ohio SRD moved to July 2-3
  • Oklahoma SRD - new date pending
  • Ontario Northern Recognition Rally - new date pending
  • Pennsylvania - Western ARD moved to May 22-23
  • Prince Edward Island PRD - new date pending  
  • Quebec PRD moved to September 24-25
  • Rhode Island - SRD moved to June 5-6
  • South Carolina SRD moved to October 2-3
  • South Dakota SRD moved to May 29-30
  • Tennessee SRD moved to September 11-12
  • Texas SRD - new date pending
  • Vermont SRD - new date pending 
  • Virginia SRD moved to August 21-22
  • West Virginia SRD moved to August 7-8
  • Wisconsin SRD honorees will be recognized at a fall event TBD
  • Wyoming SRD moved to June 19-20

Coronavirus Statement from TOPS President Rick Danforth

(March 16, 2020) Because the health and safety of our members is of utmost concern, effective immediately, all TOPS chapter meetings and KOPS Society meetings are canceled through Sunday, April 12. We will be monitoring the situation closely in the coming weeks and are prepared to extend the meeting ban if circumstances warrant.  

For those of you with upcoming State, Provincial and Area Recognition Days, your Coordinator will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks with updates. At this time, we are not issuing a blanket cancellation for all events since many are 8-16 weeks out, and some are already in the process of being rescheduled as facility availability allows. Leaders will be informed of any changes as soon as details are finalized in your area.  A list of rescheduled events appears on this page.

Open Letter from TOPS President Rick Danforth

(March 12, 2020) As many of you may know, I worked 40 years in a laboratory, the last 20 in public health. I am certified as a Specialist in Microbiology by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. In my career, I collaborated with health officials across the United States and trained at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I have experience in dealing with the anthrax scare, H1N1, SARS, MERS and Ebola. Since I became TOPS President two years ago, my idea of relaxing is reading and staying current with the ongoing changes in emerging infectious diseases. 

I am sure that I am not the only one in TOPS with experience in public health. Many of our members work in the health field. They will agree with me that, during any health scare, it is very important to stay calm, listen to the facts, and not get caught up in media hype. My experience is that misinformation, fear and panic spread faster than any infectious disease outbreak I’ve seen.

The numbers of people around the world infected with Coronavirus are constantly changing. As with all novel viruses, none of us are readily immune. Viruses are easily spread, and cases are expected throughout this year and possibly into 2021. The one important statistic to watch is what is currently happening in your specific area. I encourage you to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US or Public Health Canada, or your local health department websites for true, accurate and current information.

It’s important to know that people over 80 years old who have severe underlying health conditions are at high risk and will have a difficult time fighting off this disease. 

What can we do to protect ourselves and others? 

  • If you are ill, stay home and call your healthcare provider.
  • If you have recently traveled from a high impact area, please limit your time in public places. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Honor personal space by keeping several feet distance between you and others. 
  • Refrain from hugging and shaking hands.
  • Avoid touching “high touch” areas such as door knobs, sink taps, light switches, tabletops, pens and pencils, etc.
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your nose and mouth.

If you have any medical issues, please get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and take your medication. Eat healthy and exercise.

We all must take personal responsibility in containing the spread of Coronavirus as we have done each year with other viruses. This advice does not just apply to today’s situation; it should apply during every flu season. Think about what you would do if you found out that if one of your family members had chicken pox, whooping cough, or seasonal flu. You would all take precautions not to spread the disease to others. The same applies to the current situation.

I again encourage you to get updates only from your local health department or the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov. Canadian members are encouraged to visit Public Health Canada.