Merski bill to revitalize fitness industry heads to House chamber

Would create grant program for gyms, spas, training centers, dance studios

HARRISBURG, June 9 – The House Commerce Committee today unanimously approved a bill that would pump new life back into Pennsylvania’s hard-hit fitness industry, state Rep. Bob Merski announced today.

Merski, D-Erie, said his H.B. 1438 would establish a COVID-19 recovery grant program for gyms, spas, dance studios and other fitness-related businesses to speed relief to an industry that was brought to a standstill during the pandemic.

“The pandemic created hardships for all local businesses, but for fitness-related businesses like gyms, spas and dance studios, the impact of prolonged shutdowns has been devastating,” Merski said. “These businesses play an important role in local communities, helping people stay healthy and forging social bonds while boosting the local economy.

“During the pandemic, gym owners faithfully complied with mitigation orders, shuttering venues and drastically reducing capacities. Now, it’s time to help them get back on their feet and moving again. By restoring the vitality of the industry, we help our entire economy grow stronger.”

Merski said the COVID-19 Community Fitness Business Grant Program would allow fitness-related businesses with less than $1 million in annual gross receipts to apply for grants of up to $20,000 to help cover losses. Businesses would need to provide proof of losses and a plan for how the money will be used.

The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.