Duckworth, Moran Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Gyms and Fitness Centers Struggling Due to COVID-19
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — 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) today introduced the bipartisan Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMs) Act to provide much-needed assistance for gyms, fitness facilities and studios that shuttered operations to protect public health during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, but 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. Companion bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Mike Quigley (D-IL-05) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).
“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.”
“Gyms and fitness facilities across the nation had to close their doors last year to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Moran. “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.”
While 2020 was difficult for many businesses, gyms were particularly hard hit. Industry-wide, gyms saw a 58 percent decline from 2019 through the end of 2020. As of December 2020, 17 percent of fitness centers had permanently closed and 1.4 million jobs – or 44 percent of the industry – have been lost during the pandemic.
The bipartisan GYMs Act would provide assistance to small and midsize fitness facilities. Specifically, it would:
- Authorize 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.
- Provide grants of up to $20 million for most firms, with hardest hit firms being eligible for grants of up to $25 million.
- Allow a gym to use grant funds for payroll costs, rent, utilities, mortgage interest, worker protection expenditures, interest on debt accrued before February 15, 2020, and other expenses.
Throughout the pandemic, Duckworth has worked to support small businesses and ensure they have what they need to survive this crisis. She cosponsored the bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act that created a $120 billion restaurant revitalization fund to provide financial assistance to restaurants and bars that have been affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19 and was included in the American Rescue Plan. Duckworth also cosponsored legislation calling for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and expanded eligibility for nonprofits.
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