In addition to direct lobbying for the fitness industry in the U.S., IHRSA is collating information on stimulus packages around the globe. We are pleased to report that many governments have:
- Passed measures to provide financial relief to the hard-hit health and fitness club industry and their staff, as well as broader measures to support all business. They have also proved willing to amend original packages, to further increase relief.
- Added further finance and areas of accessing finance by way of grants and/or loans.
In this article, we will select the areas of most relevance for health club owners, operators, and industry suppliers of how best to access these loans and grants. In looking at the available stimulus packages in your city, state, province, or country, we also recommend doing a thorough analysis of your club’s expenditure. Taking note of financial pressures will assist in identifying the areas where grants or loans are needed. Once completed, focus on the areas of the stimulus package in priority order.
Larger companies will generally have more resources to deploy for loan and grant applications. Still, conversely, in several countries such as the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and elsewhere, stimulus packages at present have mostly targeted smaller businesses. IHRSA, with support from its ILC (Industry Leadership Council) members, increased lobbying efforts in the U.S. to seek further relief for the whole industry. In a recent article, we include a recap with updates on IHRSA’s lobbying efforts, which is available for adaptation in other countries.
So, based on discussions online, offline, and from IHRSA’s new forum: What have we learned are vital areas to be included or expanded in stimulus packages around the globe?
Relief Regarding Rent/Mortgages
A significant expense for most businesses and financiers is rent, and landlords have been very mixed in their support throughout different jurisdictions.
In China, landlords are not providing rent-free periods at this point. However, all clubs are in negotiations with their landlords.
In Australia, the federal government has put a temporary halt on evictions over the next six months. This prohibition is specifically for commercial and residential tenants in financial distress and unable to pay their rent due to the impact of coronavirus. There are also some rent relief measures.
In Spain—although not yet approved—the government is proposing to subsidize part of the rents that support sports facilities.
The German federal government has stated that tenants do not have to pay rent for three months, but this amount will be prorated in two years.