ICYMI: Congress must provide direct relief for fitness industry

In case you missed it, this morning the San Francisco Chronicle published an op-ed by a gym owner in California that outlines why the fitness industry needs direct relief from Congress. A key excerpt is below:

  • “While many gym owners were fortunate to receive help earlier this year through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), that simply was not enough given its burdensome restrictions and the length of mandated closures. Only 40% of the funds could be used to pay rent, gyms could not pay trainers who are independent contractors, and gyms could not use the funds to buy equipment necessary for conducting virtual workouts for their members. Granting additional funds that can be used for essential expenditures is key to saving the fitness industry while also keeping folks in our local communities safe and healthy.”

According to Yelp, the country’s gyms and fitness facilities face higher closure rates than other hard-hit industries, like restaurants and bars. Based on its respective size, the gym industry has a closure rate nearly five times the restaurant industry and one-third higher than the bar/nightclub industry.

Congress must provide direct relief for fitness industry
By: Craig Howard
San Francisco Chronicle
December 9, 2020


Businesses of all types have faced unprecedented uncertainty and have been hit incredibly hard since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while we hear a lot about the restaurant and entertainment sectors, the fitness industry has been devastated by the economic impact of the virus. Thousands of small and mid-sized fitness facilities might never be able to recover from the revenue and members lost due to mandatory closures, class size limits and other restrictions.

This is concerning. These gyms play a vital role in stimulating local economies while also keeping our communities healthy — physically and mentally.

For months, gyms across the country were forced to shut their doors and were given little-to-no hope of reopening fully and recovering from the mandatory shutdowns. I own Diablo CrossFit in Pleasant Hill and had to shut down for four months with very limited outdoor classes for two months. Even worse, we have been ordered to shut down again since Gov. Gavin Newsom pulled an “emergency brake” and mandated closures in almost all California counties.

To this day, many fitness facilities like mine are still struggling to stay afloat, and according to Yelp, more than 6,000 fitness facilities are already closed, including 57% temporary closures and 43% permanent closures.

Read the full op-ed here.