Reps. From 12 States Support Fitness Industry Relief Bill

    Although the Health & Fitness Recovery Act was not included in the most recent COVID-19 relief bill, some Republicans and Democrats agree it could be a vital lifeline for thousands of gyms.

    BOSTON, MA—December 22, 2020—With what is potentially the most chaotic lame-duck session in U.S. history, the Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 (H.R.8485) continues to pull in new sponsors.

    Currently, the bipartisan Health and Fitness Recovery Act has 22 sponsors from 12 states and D.C. The bill’s most recent sponsors include U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Dwight Evans (D-PA), all of whom signed on in mid-December.

    U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) filed the Health & Fitness Recovery Act to address the fitness industry’s dire need for economic relief—brought on by the impact of coronavirus. Since October, 20 additional Congress members have signed on as cosponsors to show their support of the fitness industry and the bill’s inclusion in any future COVID-19 relief package.

    Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package yesterday. Although it doesn’t contain specific grants for the health and fitness industry—and excludes the Health and Fitness Recovery Act—it includes provisions that should help the industry These include:

    • Paycheck Protection Program Updates,
    • New Expenses Eligible for Forgiveness,
    • Loan and Bankruptcy Changes, and more.

    The good news is, some are already describing the relief bill as a “down payment” to a larger relief bill. Lawmakers widely expect the new Biden administration will push for another relief bill early in the new Congress. The support for the industry, demonstrated by the Health and Fitness Recovery Act sponsors, helps better position the industry for support in this next bill.

    The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) continues to advocate and lobby for the health and fitness industry, and specifically for the Health and Fitness Recovery Act. Fitness facilities rely heavily on “in-club” activity as a revenue source, and there is no curbside pickup for fitness. As a result, months of being closed or operating at a significantly reduced capacity puts a substantial burden on gyms trying to pay their staff and bills. Added to this is the additional cost of:

    • keeping up with increased risk mitigation guidelines,
    • purchasing PPE equipment and cleaning supplies,
    • reconfiguring layouts for social distancing,
    • replacing HVAC systems, and more.

    “The Health and Fitness Recovery Act creates a $30 billion fund to provide grants to businesses in the health and fitness industry that have been adversely impacted by the pandemic,” said Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s executive vice president of public policy. “Some of these businesses are barely holding it together, and IHRSA projects that one in four could permanently close by year’s end. We’re hopeful that with additional outreach, more Congress members who understand the vital benefits that health and fitness clubs play in mental, physical, and social health and overall well-being will sign on in support of the bill.”

    IHRSA is working to build support for the Health and Fitness Recovery Act and make a case for its inclusion in future COVID-19 relief legislation.

    Visit this page for more information regarding the Health and Fitness Recovery Act—including the full list of cosponsors—and send our pre-written letter asking your Congress member to support the relief package. If your Congress member is not on the list of cosponsors, consider downloading this list of talking points and scheduling a meeting with them to discuss the bill and ask them to cosponsor.

    About IHRSA

    IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers.

    IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to peak health and fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry, while providing its members with benefits and resources. IHRSA and its members are devoted to making the world happier, healthier, and more prosperous through regular exercise and activity promotion.

    Author avatar

    Sami Smith

    Sami Smith is IHRSA's Senior Manager of Digital Communications, working to shape the organization's image on various digital platforms. On a typical day, she creates content, delivers impactful communications, and executes targeted marketing efforts to keep IHRSA at the forefront of the industry. Outside of the office, you can find her exploring new destinations, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.