CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new effort has been spearheaded by Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL 5) to help the owners of fitness centers who have been struggling during the pandemic.
Challenges for gym owners during the pandemic have been intense. Sean Armstead, who owns Phenomenal Fitness, said at worst business was down 60% when they could be open. Then there were the three months when all gyms and fitness centers were fully shut down.
Gyms were also shut out of any substantial federal financial assistance, Armstead said.
"I'm really disappointed at my bank, the way they haven't supported us with PPP, and we've been with them for more than two decades but there have been other people, clients have stepped up," he said.
There are similar stories around the Chicago area.
"I've been hit really hard," said Justin Marcis of Windy City Strength & Conditioning. "We are down overall 40% to 45%."
"We've already lost gyms. Some are just hanging in there," said Rep. Quigley.
The congressman introduced the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act, known as the GYMS Act, which would provide $30 billion in aid to gyms and fitness centers. He said it's good for business and wellbeing.
"It's like a double whammy; people aren't in as a shape, people are depressed, they are trapped at home, they can't socialize and they can't get in the shape they need to face the pandemic," he said.
"If we were able to get some robust assistance financially, then I think the sky is the limit," Armstead said.
Rep. Quigley hopes to get action on the legislation soon.
Rep. Mike Quigley introduces bill to help gyms, fitness centers struggling during COVID pandemic