The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to many businesses, chief among them those in the fitness industry. Many thousands of gyms and fitness facilities have been forced to close their doors, which translates to the loss of an estimated 44%–or 1.4 million industry jobs, according to a joint press release released February 5, by US Representatives Mike Quigley (IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), sponsors of the recently introduced Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act. 

The GYMS Act would provide the following:

  • Assistance to gyms, fitness studios and fitness facilities that have struggled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • $30 billion to the Small Business Administration to disburse grants to eligible fitness businesses. 
  • Grants are capped at 45% of the facility’s 2019 revenue, or $20 million, whichever is less.
  • Businesses can also qualify for a supplemental grant of up to 25% of the initial grant.
  • Facilities will be required to certify economic need and recipients can use funds for expenses such as payroll; rent and mortgage obligations (including interest); utility payments; interest on debt accrued before February 15, 2020; worker protection expenditures; and costs related to social distancing measures that were mandated by state, local or federal law. 

In addition to the economic implications, gym closures create a public health dilemma by removing access to safe, professional guidance on physical activity, nutrition and health matters for many Americans. IDEA is calling on all IDEA members and fitness pros who read this to reach out to their Congressional representatives to have your voice heard in support of the proposed legislation.

“IDEA is supporting the GYMS Act that is being proposed to give relief to our industry and we are asking our members and supporters to do the same,” says IDEA vice president and general manager Amy Boone Thompson, “This is a critical bill for all of us and rallying our representatives to advocate is critical. Showing Congressional leadership that our elected representatives care about us is the only way to break through and get the relief our industry needs.” 

“The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the fitness industry. Since mid-March about 1.4 million jobs have been lost” said Quigley. “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.”

GYMS Act co-sponsor Fitzpatrick emphasized how the 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,” he said. “Beyond providing assistance to business owners and workers, it is imperative we allow people the opportunity to maintain and improve their health as the pandemic continues on.” 

How Can You Help?

 Here is a simple 5-point plan to take action: 

  1. Identify your representative and his or her chief of staff. If you are not sure who your Representative is you can find the information here.
  2. Read more about the GYMS Act and a summary of talking points.
  3. Fill out the form here to expedite the delivery of your call to action to your Representative.
  4. Tweet your Representative or use other social media to get the word out.
  5. Ask your clients and gym members to help by taking the same steps you are.

For more business tools and resources, visit our COVID-19 Support Center.