$30bn recovery fund proposed for US fitness sector
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$30bn recovery fund proposed for US fitness sector

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The battle to save the hard-hit US health and fitness industry continue, with US congressmen Mike Quigley and Brian Fitzpatrick, introducing a new Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 to help the fitness industry in the US shield itself from the 'devastating effects' of the pandemic.

Unlike many areas of the world, where the industry is bouncing back well, the US has struggled with a lack of government support, unfounded reputational issues and largely uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.

The main aspect of the act will be the establishing of a US$30bn recovery fund for the sector.

This would offer businesses grants to cover losses up to 10 per cent of the previous year’s revenue – or US$10m (whichever is the lesser).

Recipients will be able to use the grants on payroll costs, utilities, maintenance costs, supplies and mortgage obligations and rents.

According to IHRSA, the sector in the US lost US$13.9bn in revenue between the start of the pandemic and 1 September 2020.

In total, 2,616 fitness facilities have been forced to close permanently and IHRSA expects up to a quarter (25 per cent) of US clubs to close by the end of 2020. There were around 40,000 gyms in the US pre-COVID-19.

Quigley, a Democrat representing Illinois, and Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Pennsylvania, drafted the bill with help from IHRSA.

“Few industries have been as devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic as the fitness industry," Fitzpatrick said.

"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.”

Quiqley added: "The Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 helps provide a much-needed lifeline to the fitness industry which has been devasted by the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

"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.

"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.”

Brent Darden, interim President/CEO of IHRSA, welcomed the act.

“We thank Congressmen Fitzpatrick and Quigley for leading on this critical effort," Darden said.

“While many industries are looking to receive a second round of help from the federal government, a significant segment of our industry was left out of the first relief package. Without immediate assistance, hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fitness industry could be lost.”

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The battle to save the hard-hit US health and fitness industry continue, with US congressmen Mike Quigley and Brian Fitzpatrick, introducing a new Health and Fitness Recovery Act of 2020 to help the fitness industry in the US shield itself from the 'devastating effects' of the pandemic.
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