On February 5, 2021, U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) filed H.R. 890, the Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act. Since then, IHRSA has been working on overdrive to gain support for the bill and strengthen the industry's voice in Congress with the creation of the GYMS Act Dashboard and deeper collaboration with fitness organizations.
The bill would create a $30 billion fund to provide grants to affected businesses in the health and fitness industry disproportionately affected by state and local government closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gyms were among the first businesses mandated to close, the last to open in many states, and among the first ordered to reclose during the latest winter wave of COVID-19 cases. Despite consistently being tied to restaurants, bars, theaters, and live events venues for state closures, gyms have not received the same consideration as these industries when it comes to economic relief.
While some gyms were able to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), many could not or received little benefit. Like restaurants, gyms have a high number of part-time workers, up to 70% in some instances. Unlike restaurants—which received a waiver of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) affiliation rule—many gyms were blocked from accessing that relief due to the employee cap and how the SBA counts employees. The health and fitness industry continues to face a significant revenue loss and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
The GYMS Act would provide all health and fitness facilities the economic relief they so desperately need without cutting facilities out due to the size or number of part-time employees like PPP.