The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC) and IHRSA applauded the bipartisan introduction of the GYMS Act in the Senate by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Jerry Moran (R-KS). The GYMS Act would provide direct support to rebuild the fitness industry.
“Tens of thousands of gym operators throughout the country have been fighting to stay open and serve our communities for more than a year now,” said Katalin Rodriguez Ogren, owner of POW! Gym Chicago & Parisi Speed School of Chicago. “It’s encouraging to see our leaders in Washington realize the important role that gyms and fitness facilities play in our nation’s health infrastructure. Congress needs to pass the GYMS Act to provide gym operators with the support they need. It’s the best way to ensure Americans can stay healthy as we continue to battle COVID-19.”
Since its introduction by Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), momentum for the GYMS Act continues to build, with more than 110 Republican and Democratic co-sponsors now urging passage, more than any other piece of small business legislation introduced in the 117th Congress, including the PPP Extension Act, which became law in March.
“Small businesses across the country have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and gyms are no exception—they’ve lost 1.4 million jobs along with tens of billions in revenue,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). “It’s critical we support the fitness industry to help bring back jobs and provide Americans with opportunities to improve their fitness during this public health crisis. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will help ensure gyms and fitness centers have the resources they need to get to the other side of this pandemic.”
The GYMS Act will establish a program to help struggling fitness facilities by allowing owners to apply for grants from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and use the funds for payroll, rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, and other expenses fitness facilities normally incur. By passing the GYMS Act, fitness facilities could recoup as much as 45 percent of 2019 revenue to replace revenue lost in 2020 due to COVID-19 and mandatory closures. Similar measures to support impacted industries, like the restaurant and live venues industries, were included in the American Rescue Plan Act enacted in March.
“Passing meaningful legislation to support gyms and fitness studios will be a huge step forward as we struggle to recover from the damage caused by COVID-19,” said Dave Hudson, owner of CrossFit Unconquered in Leavenworth, KS. “Exercise is key to maintaining a strong immune system and staying healthy, and we are thankful that members of Congress are stepping up and taking action to ensure that Americans can continue exercising at their local gym. We’re especially thankful for Sen. Duckworth’s and Sen. Moran’s leadership.”
A survey of small, independent gyms and fitness studios found that existing federal relief programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), did not provide sufficient aid for 63 percent of gym owners.
“Gyms and fitness facilities across the nation had to close their doors last year to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS). “These businesses play an important role in keeping Kansans healthy, and this legislation will allow gyms and fitness facilities to apply for federal relief funds to be used for critical operating expenses to reopen their doors.”
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Photo courtesy Anytime Fitness