ICYMI: D.C.’s fitness studios need coronavirus relief

In case you missed it, The Washington Post published an op-ed by gym owner Grant Barker that calls on Congress to provide community gyms and fitness studios with targeted relief. A key excerpt can be found below:

  • “If Congress and the federal government act quickly in the days ahead, we can save thousands of our nation’s community gyms from collapsing. It’ll empower us to pay our trainers, keep supporting the local economy here in D.C. and help us keep our community healthy and strong.”

New data shows existing federal relief programs have failed to help nearly two thirds of local gym owners. On average, gym owners say they have more than a one in three chance of bankruptcy (36%) before the end of 2021 without this type of direct government aid.

D.C.’s fitness studios need coronavirus relief
By: Grant Barker
The Washington Post
February 4, 2021


I hope, like so many others, that 2021 will bring a sense of normality. But in D.C., that’s still far away, with enhanced Phase 2 restrictions in place at least until March. As the owner of a small gym, protecting the health and well being of my community has always been my top priority. As a D.C. resident, I understand why certain restrictions were put in place, but the restrictions came with financial detriment and no relief.

Without help from Congress, the fitness industry is going to remain in jeopardy across the country because of local operating restrictions and closures. Gyms and fitness studios have been one of the hardest-hit industries during the coronavirus pandemic. Gyms and fitness facilities face higher closure rates than even restaurants and bars. According to Yelp, more than 6,000 fitness studios and gyms have already had to close their doors.

Though I’m grateful that my gym is allowed to operate, all gyms across D.C. still face heavy restrictions: No more than five patrons per 1,000 square feet and no indoor group classes, regardless of the gym’s policies to protect members from the virus. We’re thankful to be open, but the grim reality is that these conditions severely cut into revenue and affect viability.

The reason we need action from Congress now is simple: Other businesses and industries have received support from Congress’s relief bills, but gyms and studios have largely been left out.

Read the full op-ed here.