The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), a group representing more than 15,000 community gyms in the US, today urged Congress to include direct support for the fitness industry in any post-election relief legislation, in order to help gyms survive the financial impact of mandatory closures and operating restrictions from the COVD-19 pandemic. Leaders in the fitness industry rallying behind the relief effort include CrossFit, Mindbody, Orangetheory Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, Xponential Fitness, and Zumba Fitness. \
“Community gyms keep America healthy, but they are struggling to survive due to local closures and operating restrictions, which have been among the most stringent for any industry,” said Jordan Holland, owner of Riot Athletics CrossFit in Seattle, Washington. “Many gyms have been forced to close for six months or longer or operate with a fraction of the customers they need to break even. Debt continues to climb, and cash reserves are long gone. Without direct support, thousands of gyms will close their doors, never to reopen, and tens of millions of Americans will face the long-term health consequences, as our current health crisis leads to a new surge in obesity, depression, and chronic disease. We urge Congress to pass legislation with direct support to help thousands of small to midsize community gyms survive.”
A recent analysis by fitness industry association IHRSA found that up to one-quarter of all fitness facilities, or 10,000 gyms, could close by the end of 2020, absent federal relief. According to data released by Yelp, the nation’s gyms and fitness facilities currently face higher closure rates than nearly any other industry, including restaurants and bars. As of August 31, Yelp data showed 6,024 closed fitness facilities, with 57 percent temporary closures and 43 percent permanent closures.
“This is an important opportunity to join my colleagues in the fitness industry to bring our voices together to support small business owners across the country who need help,” said Andy Gundlach, owner of several Anytime Fitness and Basecamp Fitness locations across Wisconsin. “Fitness and helping people find ways to be healthy and well is important during the pandemic. The relief we need will help restore our industry to continue to make sure people have access to our clubs at such an important time for our country.”
Based on the number of US fitness facilities, the Yelp data implies a gym closure rate nearly five times the restaurant industry and one-third higher than the bar/nightclub industry, using comparative data around industry sizes. Like restaurants, gyms have been unable to fully participate in other federal relief programs due to limitations on the use of funds for standard costs incurred by small and mid-sized gyms. To address those issues, the House passed $120 billion in similar industry-specific support for restaurants as part of the updated HEROES Act.
“The fitness industry plays a critical role in improving the physical and mental health of millions of Americans, said Adam Krell, OrangeTheory Fitness franchisee in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. “The pandemic and government-imposed shutdowns that have followed have deprived many of our studio members of important health benefits. At the same time, our studio owners and staff have suffered significant financial hardship. We implore members of Congress to pass sector-specific relief legislation to assist an industry that has been devastated by this pandemic.”
Direct support in the next relief package would ensure America’s community gyms stay healthy during this crisis, so they can keep America healthy after it.
For more information or to ask Congress to support community gyms, please visit www.GymsCoalition.org.