The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020
Federal Legislation Providing Relief for the Fitness Industry
The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 will establish a Health Club Recovery Fund to provide structured relief to health and fitness service establishments that have been uniquely hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On October 2, 2020, U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) filed the Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 (H.R.8485) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacting health and fitness facilities around the country. Most of Congress's previous economic relief packages have either left out or not really helped the fitness industry.
If passed, the Health and Fitness Recovery Act will create a $30 billion fund to provide grants to affected businesses in the health and fitness industry. Grant amounts are capped at actual business loss of up to 10% of the previous year’s revenue, or $10 million, whichever is less.
Eligible expenses which the grant will cover include:
- payroll costs,
- rent or mortgage payments,
- maintenance expenses, including construction or reconfiguration to satisfy social distancing requirements, and
- supplies, including PPE and cleaning materials.
There Is No Curbside Pickup for Fitness
When state and local governments mandated business closures, health and fitness were the first to close but among the last to be allowed to reopen. While other industries could pivot to pandemic-friendly business models—such as curbside pickup—and received dedicated government relief, the health and fitness industry was left behind by these previous relief programs and shuttered with few to no options for alternative revenue.
5 Pieces of Data Showing the Devastating Impact of COVID-19 on the Health and Fitness Industry
- 480,000 jobs lost as of October 1, 2020
- $15.6 billion in lost revenue through October 1, 2020
- Closures up 23% since July, with 6,024 total closures, 2,616 of which are permanently closed. (Source: Yelp)
- 25% of clubs projected to close by the end of 2020
- National fitness chains have filed for bankruptcy with expected closures of many facilities
Previous government programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have addressed some of the industry’s needs, though they have not been enough.
The health and fitness industry continues to face a significant loss of revenue—both in direct membership and ancillary costs like studio classes—and will do so for the foreseeable future. Clubs that have opened are opening at 25-50% capacity while still having 100% of their expenses.
Why The Fitness Industry Is Worth Saving
The health benefits of exercise are well documented. As our nation emerges from this pandemic, having access to the services health and fitness facilities provide will be more important than ever.
Not only is physical activity critical to our nation’s physical and mental health, but our facilities are deeply ingrained in our communities, serving as community centers, childcare providers, swimming teachers, and sports and health educators to millions. The closure of these clubs would devastate communities and leave many without access to any health, fitness and stress-relieving options at a time when they need them the most.
The Health and Fitness Recovery Act will save the industry by providing the targeted relief it desperately needs. The act currently has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, but we need more cosponsors.
Please ask your Congress member to cosponsor the Health and Fitness Recovery Act and support its inclusion in any future COVID relief package today!
(* indicates original sponsor)
Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)*
Mike Quigley (D-IL)*
Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ)
Al Lawson, Jr. (D-FL)
Lloyd Smucker (R-PA)
Filemón Vela (D-TX)
Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Henry Cuelar (D-TX)
Tom Malinowski (D-NJ)
Peter King (R-NJ)