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Bill Would Provide Targeted Relief to Fitness Industry

Jason Scott

Last week, U.S. representatives Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced the Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act with the intent of helping the fitness industry weather the storm brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) supported the legislation, which would create a fund to provide grants to businesses within the industry who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. The $30 billion fund would disperse grants to help gyms and fitness centers cover the costs of payroll, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, interest on debt, taxes, insurance payments, costs required under social distancing guidance and more. 

Grant amounts would be capped — meaning that affected gyms could only claim up to 45 percent of total revenue in 2019, or up to $20 million, whichever figure is less. Businesses considered “severely impacted,” or those whose revenues were 33 percent or less in the most recent quarter as compared to 2019, could be eligible for a supplemental grant. The most eligible businesses could claim under the legislation would be $25 million.

According to data released by the Community Gyms Coalition, which represents 15,000 gyms and fitness studios across the country, most independent gym owners feel that programs intended to help small businesses during the pandemic failed to adequately support the fitness industry, which has been hit particularly hard. 

“Community gyms and fitness studios are in the fight of our lives to stay open, and we need targeted relief from Congress now,” said Dale King of PSKC CrossFit in a release announcing the survey findings. “This new data confirms that previous relief programs have not been successful for local gyms and fitness studios because it has not addressed our specific needs.”

“Congress must act quickly to save tens of thousands of community gyms and fitness studios that have been struggling to keep the doors open for almost a year now,” said Debra Strougo, co-founder of RowHouse, in a release. “The GYMS Act provides owners like myself with meaningful and specific relief that previous federal relief programs failed to address. Passing the GYMS Act will save 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 and keep our economy moving, we need targeted relief now.”

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