IHRSA Drives Momentum as GYMS Act Gains Support

    IHRSA has been fighting hard to get relief for the U.S. fitness industry. Here’s how you can follow the progress of the GYMS Act and show your support.

    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.

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    What has IHRSA done to get the GYMS Act passed?

    IHRSA kicked off our lobbying efforts for the GYMS Act by hosting a virtual fly-in, along with the Community Gyms Coalition, the week of February 8. Throughout the week, IHRSA members, staff, and lobbyists held meetings with 11 different congressional offices to begin our lobbying efforts. These meetings represented an excellent opportunity to raise awareness around the GYMS Act and allowed industry members to form working relationships with their representative. These relationships are important because they will ensure the industry holds a seat at the table now and in the future.

    IHRSA has been working in collaboration with State Fitness Alliances and the numerous National Health & Fitness Alliance members across the country to organize statewide efforts to get more co-sponsors to sign on. We are identifying health clubs located in each congressional district to write personalized letters asking their members of Congress to sign onto support the GYMS Act. At the time of writing, this effort has resulted in over 20 co-sponsors for the GYMS Act, but we need more.

    What can I do to help get the GYMS Act passed?

    To pass the GYMS Act and get affected health and fitness clubs the economic relief they need, everyone in the industry must come together in support of the bill. We have created the IHRSA GYMS Act Dashboard to act as a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to follow the GYMS Act’s progress.

    On the dashboard, you’ll find:

    • information on the GYMS Act,
    • links to the bill language,
    • a list of current co-sponsors,
    • top Congressional sponsorship targets,
    • data on grassroots actions taken so far, and more.

    Additionally, IHRSA has created two separate one-click campaigns to get everyone engaged in the grassroots push for co-sponsors. The one-click campaign takes less than a minute to participate in and will send a pre-written letter directly to your representative, illustrating the industry’s plight and asking them to sign on in support of the GYMS Act. This campaign allows people in the health and fitness industry to take part. Whether you are an owner, manager, personal trainer, or any other type of employee you can use the industry one-click campaign to make your voice heard!

    We have also created a one-click campaign for people who work outside the health and fitness industry but rely on health clubs, gyms, and studios in their daily lives to write to their representatives. We need all the help possible to acquire as many co-sponsors to sign on to the GYMS Act. Activating your membership by sharing the following link with your members would go a long way in supporting the GYMS Act.

    Share this campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    Author avatar

    Jake Landry

    Jake Landry previously served as IHRSA's Public Policy Assistant—a position that focused on monitoring legislation that affects the health club industry at the state and federal levels and writing legislative alerts and articles on issues that affect IHRSA members.