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What is The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020?

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Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020.

On October 1, representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the bipartisan Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020. 

The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 establishes a $30,000,000,000 recovery fund to help gyms and fitness clubs devastated by the current pandemic.

“Few industries have been as devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic as the fitness industry,” said Fitzpatrick, in a statement. “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. 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.”

Quigley echoed these sentiments, adding the act will provide a much-needed lifeline to the fitness industry. “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,” he continued. “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.”

According to Fitness Formula Clubs (FFC), FFC owner Gale Landers leveraged his relationship with Congressman Quigley to obtain his support to be the Democratic lead sponsor. Fitzpatrick’s support was leveraged by Jim Worthington of the Newtown Athletic Club.  

According to IHRSA, the economic impact of COVID has been substantial, resulting in $13.9 billion in lost revenue through September 1, 2020, a number of high-profile bankruptcies, and massive layoffs. 

The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 provides hope to many health club operators. Grants, which are capped at an actual business loss up to 10% of previous year’s revenue or $10,000,000 – whichever is less — can be used to offset payroll costs and rent payments, for example. 

The likelihood of the act passing in both the House and the Senate at this time is low, according to a press release by IHRSA’s ILC, referencing the changing political dynamic that has resulted from the latest Supreme Court nomination. 

However, the bill’s introduction still serves as a bright spot for clubs at this time. 

“…while the bill has odds against it to pass as a stand-alone bill, the intent is to gain a voice of advocacy on a bi-partisan issue and obtain as many congressional sponsors from both sides of the aisle as possible so that when a broader relief plan occurs nationwide, a slug of it will be earmarked for the fitness industry,” said Merikay Marzoni, the director of marketing and public relations for Fitness Formula Clubs Corporate, in a statement. 

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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