ICYMI: Prop up fitness facilities, a core piece of public health

In case you missed it, a new op-ed in the Duluth News Tribune from a gym owner in Minnesota outlines why Congress must provide direct relief to community gyms nationwide. A key excerpt is below:

“Local fitness centers are closing at unprecedented and unsustainable rates, and the best path forward is for policymakers to recognize the danger these gyms are facing and offer aid to boost the industry. If they don’t, communities across the country will lose out on opportunities to exercise and improve their health.”

A recent survey found that more than a third of independent, local gyms do not believe they will survive 2021 without federal relief from Congress. However, the survey also found that a direct grant program to recoup 2019 losses would help more than one in four gyms stay in business this year.

Gym Owner’s View: Prop up fitness facilities, a core piece of public health
By: Pat Crosby
Duluth News Tribune
January 11, 2021


Gyms and fitness centers are invaluable during times like these. Exercise builds and maintains strong immune systems to help fend off viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. But as people were left to stay at home without their regular exercise facilities early in the pandemic, fitness levels across the country dropped, as ABC News reported in August. Widespread obesity, which can increase the chances of experiencing severe complications from COVID-19, became an even more serious concern for health experts.

That’s where gyms come in. I’m proud that gyms like mine provide a venue for people to bolster both their physical and mental health, and they could prove crucial for our long-term recovery.

To be sure that our gyms are around long enough to play their part in America’s recovery from this pandemic, they need the support of our elected leaders in Washington. While many gym owners in Minnesota and across the country qualified for assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program in the spring, they were unable to use it to its fullest for critical expenses like rent, which was capped at 40%. By granting adequate relief funds, the government can provide a new opportunity for these gyms to find strong footing once again and to continue providing key services for their communities. The timing also couldn’t be more of the essence, with COVID cases on the rise and shutdown orders coming back around.

Read the full op-ed here.