Washington, D.C.—September 2, 2020—Today, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, while testifying before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, pledged to call Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to ask her to restart talks on a new COVID-19 relief package. In response, Brent Darden of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) released the following statement:
“The men and women who work in the fitness industry cannot wait. The House, Senate, and White House need to find a way to strike a deal that helps industries—like the health & fitness industry—that have been absolutely devastated by this pandemic.
“From the very beginning of this pandemic almost no other industry has been as economically devastated as the fitness industry. At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, state and local governments moved quickly to shut down health and fitness businesses.
“This had a devastating impact on the industry, which is comprised overwhelmingly of small individual operators. Unlike many other businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, health and fitness clubs could not pivot to new revenue streams. In addition to the loss of membership incomes, many clubs lost all ancillary revenue i.e. concessions and private events. According to IHRSA surveys and data:
- $10.3 billion in lost revenue through August 1, 2020
- 25% of clubs could close by the end of 2020
- National fitness chains have filed for bankruptcy with expected closures of many facilities
- Massive layoffs, many permanent closures, and substantial bankruptcies expected through end of 2020
“Unlike other industries that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, little has been done by the federal government to help the men and women who work in the fitness industry. They need help and they need it today. We strongly urge negotiators to return to the table, put workers’ interest above partisan politics, and strike a deal that will save jobs in the fitness industry.”
IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers.
IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to peak health and fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry, while providing its members with benefits and resources. IHRSA and its members are devoted to making the world happier, healthier, and more prosperous through regular exercise and activity promotion.