Community Gyms Coalition Urges Congress to Consider Specific Needs of Local Gyms in COVID Relief Proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 16, 2020 — The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), a group representing more than 15,000 local gyms across the U.S., today expressed disappointment that the Problem Solvers Caucus’s proposed relief legislation failed to include direct relief for gyms and sent the following letter urging congressional leadership to consider the specific needs of local gyms and include substantive, meaningful support in future COVID relief proposals.

View the letter here and below:

December 16, 2020

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

Thank you for your work and dedication during this ongoing public health and financial crisis. The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), representing more than 15,000 local gyms, writes to express its disappointment that the proposed COVID-19 relief legislation fails to include substantive, meaningful support for gyms and fitness facilities. The CGC urges you to consider the unique needs of America’s tens of thousands of gyms as you consider further COVID relief proposals.

Gyms are found in almost every community, and government shutdown orders and severe operating restrictions have hit them harder than almost any other sector. Thousands of community gyms face an impending risk of bankruptcy. Across the country, gyms were among the businesses first ordered to close, and are among the last allowed to open. Many have been shut by government order for more than half of the year. Many will not survive through the winter.

Gyms and fitness facilities are among those businesses most affected by government-imposed closures. Data collected by Yelp reveals that gyms have a closure rate nearly five times that of restaurants, based on industry size. Small, independent gyms are particularly at risk: a recent survey found nearly four in ten community gyms do not expect to survive 2021 unless they receive direct support from Congress. The 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 community gyms stay in business.

The proposed relief legislation would do little to alleviate the undue strain gyms and fitness facilities have felt and will feel over the coming months. Existing federal relief programs, like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), have yielded little benefit to small and mid-sized gyms due to limitations on the use of funds for their most significant costs. A precise, tailored industry-specific solution, similar to proposals for other hard-hit industries like live events venues and stages, would strengthen a sector which supports tens of thousands of jobs and is essential to sustaining the public’s health.

Thousands of community gyms and the tens of thousands of jobs they support will not survive the winter without meaningful federal assistance. The CGC urges you to include direct relief for America’s community gyms in future COVID relief proposals. Tens of thousands of jobs, and small businesses found in every community, are relying on your support.

The Community Gyms Coalition