Bill To Help The Fitness Industry Introduced In The U.S. House

The Health & Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 would give $30 billion in grants to help the fitness industry recover from the COVID-19 closures. IHRSA is encouraging health club operators to encourage their representatives to sign onto the bill. (Photo by rarrarorro/iStock/Getty Images Plus.)

U.S. Reps. Michael Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have filed the Health & Fitness Recovery Act of 2020, the two announced on Oct. 1.

The act (H.R. 8485) establishes a $30 billion recovery fund to help gyms and fitness clubs devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry has lost $13.9 billion in revenue from March through Sept. 1, 2020, according to IHRSA.  

If passed, the bill would allow the $30 billion to be given in the form of grants that are capped at an actual business loss up to 10 percent of the business’s previous year’s revenue or $10 million—whichever is less.

The grants could be used to help recipients with payroll costs, payments of principal or interest on any mortgage obligation, rent payments (including rent under a lease agreement), utilities, maintenance (including construction or reconfiguration to accommodate social distancing requirements), supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials), debt obligations to suppliers that were incurred before the covered period, and any other expenses determined by the government to be essential to maintaining the eligible entity.

IHRSA is coordinating a campaign to get operators in the fitness industry to contact their members of Congress to co-sponsor the bill and include it in any future COVID-19 relief bill.

IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, and IHRSA Board Ex-officio Jim Worthington of the Newtown Athletic Club worked with Fitzpatrick to draft the bill. Gale Landers, CEO of Fitness Formula Clubs, then gained Quigley’s endorsement of the bill to make it bipartisan.

“Unlike many other businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, health and fitness clubs could not pivot to new revenue streams and many in the industry failed to qualify for assistance in the first CARES Act,” Fitzpatrick said. “The men and women who work in the fitness industry need and deserve our help.”

Read more on:

Suggested Articles:

For the year, revenue declined 41 percent, and the company opened 131 fewer clubs in 2020 compared to 2019.

The comfort of hearing from the expected experts in the industry is welcome, but sometimes you need a jolt from some fresh voices, too.

Technology's role in the fitness business is one of the main themes of Club Industry's next Future of Fitness virtual event.