Quigley, Fitzpatrick Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Save Jobs in the Fitness Industry
Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced the bipartisan Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health and fitness centers have been forced to close their doors, causing turmoil throughout the industry and putting thousands of jobs at risk.
“The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 helps provide a much-needed lifeline to the fitness industry which has been devastated by the economic impacts of the coronavirus,” said Quigley. “We’ve seen this health crisis attack people with preexisting conditions, making people eager to get to the gym to maintain and improve their health. We must ensure gyms have the resources they need to make it to the other side of this crisis and protect their customers in the interim.”
“Few industries have been as devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic as the fitness industry. From the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, state and local governments moved quickly to shut down health and fitness businesses, in order to enforce social distancing safety measures,” said Fitzpatrick. “Unlike many other businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, health and fitness clubs could not pivot to new revenue streams and many in the industry failed to qualify for assistance in the first CARES Act. The men and women who work in the fitness industry need and deserve our help.”
“We thank Congressmen Fitzpatrick and Quigley for leading on this critical effort,” said Brent Darden, interim President/CEO of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). “While many industries are looking to receive a second round of help from the federal government, a significant segment of our industry was left out of the first relief package. Without immediate assistance, hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fitness industry could be lost.”
According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the economic impact of COVID-19 on gyms and health clubs is staggering:
- $13.9 billion in lost revenue through September 1, 2020;
- Closures up 23% since July, with 6,024 total closures, 2,616 of which are permanently closed (according to data gathered by Yelp);
- 25% of clubs are projected to close by the end of 2020;
- National fitness chains have filed for bankruptcy with expected closures of many facilities; and
- Massive layoffs, many permanent closures, and substantial bankruptcies expected through end of 2020.
The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 establishes a $30 billion recovery fund to help gyms and fitness clubs devastated by the current pandemic. Grants, which are capped at an actual business loss up to 10% of previous year’s revenue or $10,000,000, whichever is less, may be used to help recipients with:
- Payroll costs;
- Payments of principal or interest on any mortgage obligation;
- Rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement;
- Maintenance, including construction or reconfiguration to accommodate social distancing requirements;
- Supplies, including protective equipment and cleaning materials;
- Debt obligations to suppliers that were incurred before the covered period; and
- Any other expenses that the Secretary determines to be essential to maintaining the eligible entity.