SOURCE: International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
The health and fitness industry’s efforts are needed more than ever to gain financial assistance and ensure the GYMS Act’s inclusion in future relief packages
BOSTON, MA—March 11, 2021—The bipartisan Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act (H.R. 890) continues to gain support in Congress. As of posting, 62 representatives have officially signed on in support of providing relief for the fitness industry.
On Saturday, March 6, the Senate voted to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. In a vote of 220-211, on Wednesday, March 10, the House passed the American Rescue Plan Act, as amended by the Senate. The bill now goes to Biden’s desk, where he plans to sign it into law on Friday, March 12.
Although Congress failed to include direct relief for the health and fitness industry in this bill, there is still hope for financial assistance. In the recent industry action event, United We Rise - Stronger Than Ever, GYMS Act champion, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), said, “I appreciate all of you who have helped bring support to the legislation, and this is not the end of the road ... I will continue to do what I can to push for this financial support until your facilities receive the assistance they need.”
The unwavering support and assistance from the collective health and fitness industry and their members have been crucial in gaining Congress’s attention, and it must continue. To date, Americans have sent well over 16,000 letters to their members of Congress using the National Health & Fitness Alliance’s (NHFA) one-click grassroots campaign. Some even went above and beyond with upwards of 500 personal emails and calls made to Congress.
The latest co-sponsors of the GYMS Act include U.S. Reps. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Don Young (R-AK), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Deborah Ross (D-NC), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Bradley Scott Schneider (D-IL), and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO).
From March 2020 to December 31, 2020, health and fitness clubs, gyms, and studios lost $20.4 billion in revenue, a 58% decline from 2019. Because of the pandemic, 44% of fitness professionals—or 1.4 million employees—lost their jobs, and as of December 31, 2020, 17% of facilities have permanently closed. Without relief, IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, estimates that one in four fitness-related businesses could close their doors.
“IHRSA and the NHFA have been working tenaciously to get the collective health and fitness industry involved in all campaigns relating to the GYMS Act. We noticed a recent spike in activity that led to a number of representatives signing on,” said Jeff Perkins, IHRSA’s assistant vice president of government relations. “It’s imperative that the industry continues to inundate Congress with messages and push the GYMS Act inclusion in the next relief package. IHRSA is willing to assist health and fitness clubs with their advocacy efforts in any way related to the GYMS Act.”
The GYMS Act Dashboard details all efforts and includes how fitness professionals and consumers can help with outreach. For those who want to call or meet with their Congress member, this one-pager contains talking points that uphold why gyms need—and deserve—relief. This page covers an overview of the bill, including eligible entities, a summary of the grants, and how recipients can use the funds.
If passed, the GYMS Act will provide a $30 billion fund to provide grants specifically for health and fitness-related businesses impacted by the coronavirus. Grants will be eligible to cover costs associated with:
- rent or mortgage, including interest,
- interest on debt accrued before February 15, 2020,
- worker protection expenditures, and more.
IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers.
IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to peak health and fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry, while providing its members with benefits and resources. IHRSA and its members are devoted to making the world happier, healthier, and more prosperous through regular exercise and activity promotion. IHRSA is the publisher of Club Business International, the leading monthly magazine for the global fitness industry.