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Community Gyms Coalition Asks for Government Relief

Brock Fritz

The Community Gyms Coalition is urging the United States government to provide gyms with relief.

A recent San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece by a member of the Community Gyms Coalition Advisory Board made the case that local gyms deserve relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has had a significant impact on the industry.

Craig Howard, who owns Diablo CrossFit in Pleasant Hill, Calif., wrote that 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.

“Gyms have been one of the hardest-hit industries by government actions to stop the pandemic, and with higher closure rates than either restaurants or bars, relieving the fitness industry should be one of the top priorities for Congress during the COVID-19 relief negotiations.”

Gyms across the country have been shut down at various times since last spring, as governors have attempted to limit the spread of the virus. Howard’s facility was shut down for four months and has been ordered to close again as California governor Gavin Newsom has implemented new stay-at-home orders.

Related content: Gyms Poised for Legal Battle Pending Shut Down Order

The Community Gyms Coalition's website urges people to contact Congress to let them "know that community gyms are essential and need relief now." It goes on to say that one in four fitness facilities are at risk of closing their doors permanently, gyms have higher closure rates than restaurants and bars, and gyms haven't been able to fully participate in other federal relief programs.

Local gyms’ economic issues are widespread. Howard cited Yelp’s September Local Economic Impact Report that said more than 6,000 fitness facilities have already closed, with 43 percent being permanent closures.

“With no immediate end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, and with another wave of cases projected to hit this winter, these numbers are alarming and they are precisely why it’s time for Congress to step in and provide gyms with relief,” Howard wrote, arguing that gyms are essential and help their members physically and mentally. “Community gyms nationwide are ready to keep Americans in good health during this epidemic and after it. That’s why we are calling on Congress and our leaders in California to provide thousands of small, local gyms across the country with relief so they do not go out of business.”

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