The U.S. fitness industry was not specifically included in either of the two previous federal relief bills related to COVID-19, but that could change with the reconciliation bill that the Senate Small Business Committee is working on now and that the Senate will take up after its August recess, according to IHRSA, the trade association for commercial health club operators.
IHRSA is urging operators of health clubs and studios to write or call their U.S. senators to ask them to support the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act (GYMS Act) and ensure the Senate Small Business Committee includes it in the reconciliation bill.
The GYMS Act would provide assistance for fitness facilities that were forced to temporarily close during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a consequence, have struggled to stay in business.
If passed, the GYMS Act would create a $30 billion recovery fund in the form of Small Business Administration (SBA) grants that would be available to fitness business owners similar to other previous relief programs. The act would allow fitness facility operators to recoup as much as 45 percent of 2019 revenue or $20 million, whichever is less.
The funds could be used for payroll, rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance and other expenses fitness facilities normally incur. The money could not be used “to purchase real estate; for payments of interest or principal on loans originated after Feb. 15, 2020; to invest or re-lend funds, for contributions or expenditures to, or on behalf of, any political party, party committee, or candidate for elective office,” according to a summary of the bill by IHRSA.
You can help get this bill passed by doing these three things:
- Participate in IHRSA’s one-click campaign targeting the senators from your state.
- Post about the GYMS Act in your club. IHRSA has created a QR code flyer to print out to share with staff and members to get everyone involved in ensuring health and fitness facilities don’t get left behind.
- Share these campaigns on social media, through emails to friends in the industry and with your members. Anyone can take action on behalf of health and fitness facilities, so your members can participate.
The GYMS Act was introduced in February in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 890). In May, it was introduced in the U.S. Senate (S.1613). So far, 145 representatives and nine senators signed on to support the GYMS Act.
Find out more about the GYMS Act on this website.