New York Gyms and Fitness Studios Need Targeted Relief After a Year of Shutdowns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — March 22, 2021 — The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), a group representing more than 15,000 local gyms and fitness studios across the U.S., including many in New York City, today is calling on Congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to show support for gyms and fitness facilities by passing the GYMS Act. Today indoor fitness classes in New York City are able to resume at 33% capacity with mask and sign in requirements.

“Even though my studio is reopening today, many gyms and fitness studios are closed permanently, and many won’t be able to stay open much longer if we don’t receive specific support from Congress soon,” said Debra Strougo, co-founder of Row House in NYC. “By supporting the GYMS Act, our elected leaders like Senator Schumer can help provide gym owners like myself with meaningful and specific relief that previous federal relief programs failed to provide. The GYMS Act will save tens of 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, we need specific support now.”

In a recent letter to Leader Schumer and other Congressional leadership, the CGC notes that a recent survey of small, independent gyms and studios found that existing federal relief programs – including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – have failed to help 63 percent of gym owners surveyed.

“Today marks a small step towards recovery, but we still have a long way to go if we want to keep our industry strong and our communities healthy,” said Pam Brown, owner of Align Brooklyn. “While some of us are able to slowly allow customers and members back in, this past year has taken a serious toll on our industry. It’s not over yet. There are still tens of thousands of small gyms and fitness studios waiting for Congress to provide meaningful relief. More small business failure is unacceptable, which is why Congress, including Senator Schumer and New York’s members of Congress need to lead the effort to pass the GYMS Act.”

In 2020, revenue across the fitness industry dropped by $20 billion — 58 percent.  By the end of 2020, approximately one out of five fitness facilities has closed permanently. 1.4 million jobs in the industry have already been lost. The industry comprises more than 40,000 facilities, of which 80 percent are small businesses.

“Many of us in the fitness industry have eagerly waited for the chance to reopen and serve our communities, but without specific help from Congress, there are many fitness studios and facilities that won’t be able to,” said Josh Makar, owner of Harborside CrossFit in Buffalo. “This past year has been absolutely devastating for us. We’re often the first ones ordered shut or given strict operating restrictions by local government officials. It’s no surprise that many of us will need financial assistance to reopen. We hope Senator Schumer and our representatives in Congress will support us and pass the GYMS Act without delay.”

Learn more about the Community Gyms Coalition here: