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GYMS Act could offer federal relief to fitness facilities impacted by the pandemic

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 9:17 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Gyms are asking for federal relief while working to bounce back after taking a hard hit from the pandemic.

“Back in 2020, we were one of the first to close. We were certainly one of the last to reopen. Revenues here fell dramatically,” Mark Embrey, owner of Fast Fitness said.

He added that it got to the point where they almost had to close the doors of the only gym in Stuarts Draft for good.

“Members just weren’t returning. They weren’t returning due to the atmosphere that’s here being around other people,” Embrey said.

Unlike other small businesses and restaurants, gyms couldn’t offer pandemic-friendly services like curbside pick-up and were left with very few options for alternative revenue.

“We had lost, looking at our revenue about 40-45%,” Embrey said.

As vaccines continue to roll out, more people are starting to return to the gym.

However, Embrey said they are still well behind where they were pre-COVID, and federal funding would be a great help for things like replacing old equipment and cleaning.

“We have additional cleaning supplies that we’re going locally through Cintas. We’ve increased that to give our members a better comfort level,” Embrey said.

If passed, the “Gym Mitigation and Survival” Act would provide a $30 billion fund to offer grants of up to $25 million for fitness facilities that have taken a hit due to the pandemic.

“Physical fitness is something that people love to do, and people want to get back to a sense of normalcy, and they want to come back,” Embrey said.

He said these funds would help them keep the doors open and continue offering a safe, clean environment for the community.

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