GYMS Act Introduced in U.S. Senate

The Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMs) Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 13. This follows the Feb. 5 introduction of a companion GYMS Act bill in the U.S. House of Representatives where it now has more than 110 sponsors.  

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the bipartisan bill.

If passed, the GYMs Act would provide assistance for fitness facilities that were forced to temporarily close during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a consequence, have struggled to stay in business.

The bipartisan GYMS Act would establish a $30 billion grant program through the Small Business Administration, similar to the programs already in existence for restaurants and live event venues.

“Small businesses across the country have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and gyms are no exception—they’ve lost 1.4 million jobs along with tens of billions in revenue,” said Duckworth. “It’s critical we support the fitness industry to help bring back jobs and provide Americans with opportunities to improve their fitness during this public health crisis. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will help ensure gyms and fitness centers have the resources to they need to get to the other side of this pandemic.”

Moran added: “Gyms and fitness facilities across the nation had to close their doors last year to help stop the spread of COVID-19. These businesses play an important role in keeping Kansans healthy, and this legislation will allow gyms and fitness facilities to apply for federal relief funds to be used for critical operating expenses to reopen their doors.”

As of December 2020, 17 percent of U.S. fitness centers had permanently closed and 1.4 million jobs – or 44 percent of the industry – have been lost during the pandemic, according to IHRSA.

The GYMs Act would provide assistance to small and midsize fitness facilities by authorizing a total of $30 billion for grants to eligible entities, which would include fitness facilities that either provide instruction for physical exercise and/or offer space for individual exercise use. The bill would provide grants of up to $20 million for most firms, with hardest hit firms being eligible for grants of up to $25 million.

In addition, the bill would allow a gym owner to use grant funds for payroll costs, rent, utilities, mortgage interest, worker protection expenditures, interest on debt accrued before Feb. 15, 2020, and other expenses.

IHRSA interim CEO Brent Darden shared in his weekly Take Five video with the industry that in addition to continuing to build support in the House, it is now time to build sponsors in the Senate.

“Passing the GYMS Act would again help fitness facilities recoup as much as 45 percent of 2019 revenue to replace revenue lost through the mandatory closures during the pandemic,” he said.

To find out how you can help build support, visit the GYMS Act page created by IHRSA.