GYMS Act Update: The latest on the bill and what’s next in terms of potential industry relief.
On September 9, 2021, the House Small Business Committee, led by Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), approved $25 billion in funding to invest in small business programs through a number of specific provisions.
The bill will now move to the House Budget Committee as it continues to work its way through the approval process.
The bill did not include targeted relief for specific industries, such as fitness. However, comments from Rep. Dean Phillips indicate a continued push from legislators to support relief for the fitness industry, restaurants and other industries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Restaurants and gyms and live entertainment venues and small businesses of all kinds have made it known: they have been left in the cold, and they need our help,” said Phillips, in a statement. “I applaud the legislation that we’re considering today. Yet while the $25 billion allocated here to small businesses is a vital and worthy investment, I say that we can and we must, we must, do more. That’s why I’m pleased to share that with the support of the speaker and leadership of Chairwoman Velázquez, that the small business committees in the House and the Senate will soon begin working on a targeted small business relief package to help those industries who are still in great and sometimes desperate need.”
With this in mind, fitness leaders are urging the industry to continue to rally support for the Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act, a bill that could create up to a $30 billion fund for fitness facilities to use on expenses such as settling existing debts owed to vendors and administrative costs.
According to Gale Landers, the founder and CEO of Fitness Formula Clubs in Illinois, a board member of the Illinois State Fitness Alliance and chair of the National Health & Fitness Alliance (NHFA), it’s important for gyms to continue placing pressure on their representatives to support the GYMS Act.
“Yes, we learned this week that no industries on any level are receiving financial relief via the reconciliation bill,” said Landers. “However, we also received word that certain industry relief, which would include the fitness industry, is being addressed outside of the reconciliation bill and that leading senators remain in support of fitness industry relief. Rep. Phillips of Minnesota announced in his opening remarks yesterday that with the support of Speaker Pelosi and Chairperson Velazquez, work is underway to create a small business relief package for restaurants, gyms and venues. Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) and his office are in direct contact with the Senate Small Business Committee, and we are supplying them with additional information that has been requested in reference to the GYMS Act and the fitness industry.”
According to Landers, next week the NHFA Advisory Council will be in Washington, D.C., to keep the pressure on legislators. “We are looking forward to pressing the advocacy forward on behalf of the fitness industry,” he said.
IHRSA has created a one-click campaign that allows constituents to easily contact their members of Congress.
“Even if you have already participated, you can send another letter,” said Landers. “Please tell congressional leadership that relief for gyms is essential, and please share this campaign with staff and members alike.”
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