The Gym Mitigation and Survival Act
A new bipartisan bill has been proposed to the House. This bill could help struggling gyms and fitness centers recover financial losses that occurred as a result of the pandemic. The bill, known as the GYMS Act, is the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act. It was introduced by Democrat Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). It will assist struggling gyms, fitness centers, and studios, that have lost money since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The legislation has been endorsed by the Community Gyms Coalition. A coalition founded in November of 2020 as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. The Coalition includes some of the largest fitness studios in America, including CrossFit, SolidCore, Pure Barre, Orange Theory, and ClassPass.
To be eligible, the business must be known as a fitness center. They must offer instruction on fitness and/or exercise and offer space on-site for physical fitness and working out. The funding comes in the form of grants. They could be as high as 45 percent of the center?s 2019 revenue, or $20 million. The loans are distributed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Fitness centers are among the hardest hit businesses from the pandemic. With lockdown protocols in place, health-conscious Americans are working out more at home. But this is hitting the multi-billion-dollar gym industry hard.
Gym Relief Through COVID-19
The federal government has passed trillions of dollars in budget relief measures for every aspect of life since the pandemic began, and gym relief is no different. Last year, in April 2020, a Paycheck Protection Program gave small businesses in America an additional $380 billion in relief.
Approximately one-third of that money went to corporate America. About $45 million was provided to independent contractors like personal trainers. Of that $45 million, approximately 157 loans were made.
The new funding in the Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act focuses on relief to gyms and fitness centers specifically.
Another $900 billion relief bill passed in December 2020. Venus such as movie theaters and culture centers received $15 billion.
The PPP relief has just not been enough. Fitness centers typically have exorbitant overhead in rent and other fixed expenditures alone. The PPP relief was allocated to payroll relief. Only 25 percent was allocated for these fixed costs.
A key problem since the pandemic began was gym attendance, for trainers and consumers alike. The result was that?many have closed?their doors for good since the pandemic began.
Why Gyms Need COVID-19 Relief
Gyms are an integral component to overall health, and not all gym-goers in America will maintain wellness with home-workouts if their gym closes. Many are more likely to simply wait out the pandemic, or the vaccine rollout, and resume their fitness levels after it feels comfortable enough to go to the gym again in an era of a contagious virus.
The CDC estimates that obesity in the 30-4o age gap rang in at 40.3 percent in 2017. The Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences researched the?link between health and obesity, citing obesity as a ?risk factor? for metabolic disorder. This could result in serious health burdens for both the individual and an already burdened health care system.
The CDC is on the side of the gyms staying open. If they were to take a formal position, it would be to keep them open, as they are essential for health and wellness.
The International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) notes there are approximately 41,370 gyms in America that are a third home to 64.2 million Americans. The gym industry in 2019 was a $100 billion dollar industry.
What the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act Will Cover
If passed, the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act will provide funds for payroll, rent or mortgages, utilities, and worker protection costs in addition to other elements. Fitness centers will be able to get as much as 45 percent of their 2019 revenue back.
Fitness Centers or gyms that made 33 percent or less in their last quarter can seek more funding.
Of the bill, Rep. Quigley (D-IL) noted the hardships on American jobs in the fitness industry, since the pandemic began. He also focuses on Americans with pre-existing conditions that can be helped with fitness.
In a joint press release on the proposed law, Rep. Quigley noted,
?The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the fitness industry. Since mid-March, about 1.4 million jobs have been lost. It is critical we provide relief to this industry not only to bring back jobs but to help with peoples? health. We?ve seen this pandemic attack people with preexisting conditions, making people eager to get to the gym to maintain and improve their health. We must ensure gyms have the resources they need to make it to the other side of this crisis and protect their customers in the interim.?
Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) expressed his thoughts in the same joint release,
?The?COVID-19 pandemic has crippled?the?fitness industry across our nation.?Unlike many other businesses financially impacted?by the?pandemic,?health?and?fitness clubs did not have?the?capability?to?pivot?to?new revenue streams, and?many even failed?to?qualify?for assistance in the first CARES Act,"
You can help
The IHRSA GYMS Act Dashboard has updated information on the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act. On the dashboard, you'll find updated information about the GYMS Act. They have links to their one-click letter-writing campaigns and up-to-the-minute information on the progress of their advocacy efforts. Also, be sure to check out the "How can I help?" widget. You can find instructions on how to contact your Representatives to support the health and fitness industry.