Local shutdown mandates have hit the fitness industry harder than almost any other sector, putting thousands of local gyms at imminent risk of bankruptcy
WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 4, 2020 — Today the Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), representing more than 15,000 local gyms, sent the following letter calling on members of Congress to ensure any critical relief legislation includes specific language to address the urgent needs of struggling local gyms and fitness facilities:
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), representing more than 15,000 local gyms, commends the Problem Solvers Caucus for its bipartisan efforts to advance critical relief legislation and urges Congress to ensure the bill language addresses the specific needs of America’s hardest-hit businesses, including gyms and fitness facilities.
Local shutdown mandates and operating restrictions have hit the fitness industry harder than almost any other sector, putting thousands of local gyms at risk of imminent bankruptcy. In every state, gyms have been among the first businesses forced to close and the last allowed to open, with many shut by government order for more than six months and counting.
According to data released by Yelp, gyms have a closure rate nearly five times that of restaurants, based on industry size, and a recent survey found nearly four in ten local gyms do not expect to survive 2021 unless they receive direct federal relief from Congress. The nationwide survey also found that a direct grant program to recoup 2019 losses would increase the survival rate to 88 percent, helping more than 10,000 local fitness facilities stay in business.
Unfortunately, the Problem Solvers Caucus legislation will not achieve its intended goals unless it is modified to meet the specific needs of gyms. Like many other businesses, small and mid-sized gyms have been unable to fully participate in other federal relief programs, like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), due to limitations on the use of funds for their most significant costs. An industry-specific solution, similar to proposals for other hard-hit industries like live events venues and stages, would sustain an industry which improves public health and supports tens of thousands of jobs.
Short of an industry-specific solution, corrections to PPP and similar programs are vital to the survival of small gyms. Specifically, we urge changes to PPP which offer more relief for businesses like gyms that were closed for longer periods of time and greater flexibility in the allocation of funds for major recurring costs, such as rent or facility payments. Without critical revisions such as these, many gyms and the tens of thousands of jobs they support will not be able to survive.
The CGC urges you to take action to save these jobs and small businesses found in every community.
The Community Gyms Coalition