June 2020 Update: Since publishing this article, IHRSA launched a new grassroots campaign asking Congress for further relief and stimulus to include:
- An improved SBA PPP that expands access to the program for all of the industry's clubs
- The RESTART Loan Program to provide funding to jump-start the hardest-hit businesses for the remainder of 2020, and provide loan forgiveness as a backstop against ongoing difficulties.
- The PHIT Act to allow the use of pre-tax savings accounts (FSA and HSA) to pay for health club memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos, and youth sports leagues. Passing PHIT would encourage people to return to the clubs when reopened.
The Senate is expected to develop the next package of relief efforts in June. IHRSA—as the sole representative for the fitness industry in Washington, D.C.—and our ILC-funded lobbyists will continue efforts to include the health and fitness industry in relief legislation. To support these efforts, tell the Senate health clubs still need relief—then share the campaign with every fitness professional, you know!
Health and fitness clubs across the U.S. are among the businesses most devastated by the coronavirus crisis. As soon as states began forcing health clubs to shut their doors, IHRSA started pursuing efforts to keep clubs protected.
Now that Congress is discussing additional relief for America’s small businesses, IHRSA has bulked up its lobbying power and presence in Washington D.C. by tripling its federal lobbying presence, assembling a team of proven lobbyists with strength in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, IHRSA will only be successful in saving the fitness industry with the support of the entire industry—we need you to act now.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest stimulus relief package in U.S. history, helps a good part of the fitness industry. Despite IHRSA’s efforts, a large segment of health and fitness club operators—representing thousands of clubs—was unintentionally left out in the cold.
Increasing Lobbying Firepower
To ensure that the entire fitness industry—all 40,000 clubs, their suppliers, and their employees—receives relief, the industry must bring more resources to bear on the federal government.