WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 5, 2021 — The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), representing more than 15,000 community gyms and fitness studios in the U.S., and the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) today welcomed the introduction of the bipartisan GYMS Act by Congressmen Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
“Congress must act quickly to save tens of thousands of community gyms and fitness studios that have been struggling to keep the doors open for almost a year now,” said Debra Strougo, co-founder of RowHouse. “The GYMS Act provides owners like myself with meaningful and specific relief that previous federal relief programs failed to address. Passing the GYMS Act will save thousands of small businesses from going bankrupt and help ensure the fitness industry survives the pandemic to continue making our communities healthier. If we want to keep Americans healthy and keep our economy moving, we need targeted relief now.”
The GYMS Act would establish a program to help distressed fitness facilities by allowing owners to apply for grants from the Small Business Administration (SBA), similar to other previous relief programs. The use of grant funds are available for payroll, rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, and many other expenses fitness facilities normally incur.
“The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the fitness industry. Since mid-March about 1.4 million jobs have been lost. It is critical we provide relief to this industry not only to bring back jobs but to help with peoples’ health. We’ve seen this pandemic attack people with preexisting conditions, making people eager to get to the gym to maintain and improve their health,” said Rep. Quigley. “We must ensure gyms have the resources they need to make it to the other side of this crisis and protect their customers in the interim.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the fitness industry across our nation. Unlike many other businesses financially impacted by the pandemic, health and fitness clubs did not have the capability to pivot to new revenue streams, and many even failed to qualify for assistance in the first CARES Act”, said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Beyond providing assistance to business owners and workers, it is imperative we allow people the opportunity to maintain and improve their health as the pandemic continues on. If passed, my bipartisan GYMS Act will create a $30 billion recovery fund, providing grants to affected businesses in the health and fitness industry and the resources they need to survive this crisis. There is no question that the hardworking men and women of this industry deserve our help.”
By passing the GYMS Act, fitness facilities could recoup as much as 45 percent of 2019 revenue to replace revenue lost in 2020 due to COVID-19. For especially distressed fitness facilities, the GYMS Act also offers an opportunity for owners to apply for a supplemental grant in addition to the initial grant.
“The GYMS Act provides gym owners like myself with relief that existing programs failed to provide,” said Justin Marcis of Windy City Strength & Conditioning. “Passing the GYMS Act will save thousands of gyms from going bankrupt and will prevent millions of Americans from losing their jobs. Small gyms and fitness studios around every corner of the country have been struggling to stay open. The GYMS Act gives tens of thousands of small business owners like me hope that we will make it through this pandemic so we can continue to keep our communities healthy. We are thankful for Rep. Quigley and Rep. Fitzpatrick’s leadership.”
Community gyms and fitness studios have been among the industries hardest-hit by COVID-19, according to Yelp. New data shows that nearly two thirds of local gym owners believe that existing government programs have failed gyms and fitness studios because they did not meet their cost structures. The survey also found on average, gym owners say they have more than a one in three chance of bankruptcy or closure before the end of 2021 without this type of government support.
Learn more about the Community Gyms Coalition here: https://gymscoalition.org/
Learn more about the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association here: https://www.ihrsa.org/