ACE calls on US government to offer financial support to self-employed fitness professionals
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ACE calls on US government to offer financial support to self-employed fitness professionals

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These individuals are as essential to local economies as other types of workers and must be considered in well-intentioned legislators’ deployment of needed relief solutions
– Graham Melstrand

American Council on Exercise (ACE) has urged US policymakers to not leave the fitness sector's independent contractors, sole proprietors and small family businesses behind in its efforts to prop up US economy during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking exclusively to HCM, Graham Melstrand​, ACE's executive vice president of engagement, said the organisation was calling on the US Congress and state legislatures to undertake "rapid exploration" of legislative relief for small businesses and their employees, independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

ACE represents 90,000+ certified exercise professionals and health coaches across the US.

"The health and fitness industry is composed primarily of small business owners, independent contractors and employees who are an important driver of the American economy," Melstrand said.

"health clubs and studios are vital to the US economy. They serve 74 million consumers, generate US$32.3bn in annual revenue and employ more than 800,000 people.

"Many of those employed in the fitness sector are exercise professionals and health coaches who are certified by ACE.

"These are hardworking people whose livelihoods are being severely disrupted as public health authorities urge or require their businesses or employers to shutter and Americans to shelter in place.

"These individuals are as essential to local economies as other types of workers and must be considered in well-intentioned legislators’ deployment of needed relief solutions."

Melstrand added that while ACE welcomed the financial relief measures already provided by the central government, it was looking for reassurance that everyone would be covered by them.

"We are encouraged by the bipartisan commitment to this cause and this week's approval by the US Senate, which sent the relief package to the House of Representatives for consideration," he said.

"The Senate bill would provide a number of critical benefits to assist small business operators, independent contractors and unemployed individuals through the COVID-19 crisis.

"But we urge policymakers to continue supporting the full array of mechanisms and vehicles available to state and federal governments to minimise the impact on all working adults, not just some.

"Those include business-interruption loans as well as expanded unemployment benefits and earned sick-leave.

"This isn’t just an economic investment in a targeted sector: our specific small businesses and this workforce are critical in keeping the economy healthy, both economically and physiologically.

"Without us, the public health initiatives addressing inactivity-related health impacts will be missing one of their most indispensable on-the-ground partners."

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American Council on Exercise (ACE) has urged US policymakers to not leave the fitness sector's independent contractors, sole proprietors and small family businesses behind in its efforts to prop up US economy during the Coronavirus outbreak.
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