Take Advantage of Federal & State Relief for Your Fitness Club

    The coronavirus pandemic has virtually shut down the globe, causing governments to jump into action. The federal stimulus package has dominated national media, but do you know what relief your state is offering?

    With mandated health and fitness facility closures spanning the globe, the fitness industry is on the frontline of the impact of COVID-19.

    In the U.S., there are over 40,000 health and fitness facilities that together employ over 800,000 part- and full-time employees. That’s 40,000 facilities that are now frantically seeking answers to keep their health clubs open and 800,000 Americans in danger of losing their jobs.

    The entire fitness industry is at risk. We need to find a viable solution to keep health clubs, studios, and the companies that supply them in business until they can reopen. If we don't, it's the future health of the country we'll be putting at risk.

    We aren’t trying to scare you—but we need to bring attention to how devastating the coronavirus pandemic could be to the fitness industry. That’s why IHRSA is working around the clock to put together resources, answer questions, solve problems, and keep the industry alive and working together.

    We’re finding an abundance of helpful resources from industry professionals; everything from free webinars for fitness coaches to keep working virtually to articles on community building and virtual coaching. You can also find resources to help you understand the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)—the largest stimulus package in U.S. history. Reviewing and sharing these resources is exactly what our industry needs to have a fighting chance!

    Relief From State Column Width

    IHRSA staff has gone through the provisions of the CARES Act and outlined the most critical portions we believe will help the fitness industry. Those parts include:

    1. Small business administration loans
    2. Mid-sized business relief
    3. Payroll tax relief
    4. Unemployment provisions
    5. Direct payments to Americans
    6. Changes to new paid leave mandate

    So, what about the relief that may be available in your state specifically?

    State-level Relief

    With all the focus on federal relief, health clubs may not have looked into what states are offering the fitness industry. Many are developing relief programs to supplement federal efforts.

    We will provide information on state-level efforts as we become aware of them, and will update the official IHRSA COVID-19 Relief & Information for the U.S. Fitness Industry page regularly.

    As of April 3, we know of programs in the following 16 states:

    As an example, California offers two finance programs through the CA Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) for businesses with 1-750 employees:

    • the Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program, which provides loan guarantees of up to $1 million for small business borrowers in declared disaster areas, and
    • the Jump Start Loan Program, which offers loans from $500 to $10,000 to low-wealth entrepreneurs in declared disaster and emergency areas.

    California health clubs can find more information on both programs on the IBank website.

    Business Assistance Information for Every State

    Did you know that almost every state has a page dedicated to business resources?

    We put together a list with links to potential state-specific resources in addition to the Small Business Administration (SBA) program.

    Keep Moving in the Fight for the Fitness Industry

    The world needs exercise and physical activity. Research of physical activity proves time and time again to be beneficial in many aspects. When the World Health Organization launched its #HealthyAtHome campaign, which shares ways people can stay healthy amid the COVID-19 crisis, the first tip on their list was "be active."

    Big names in the industry like Orangetheory, Planet Fitness, and Gold’s Gym have gone virtual, by offering members—and non-members—free streaming options to workouts and classes. Planet Fitness even offers a free app that includes exercises, workouts, the ability to track your activity, and more.

    All of us here at IHRSA believe the fitness industry can overcome this pandemic.

    The entire industry needs to join together as a united force and support one another. IHRSA—like most of you—is working tirelessly to provide the industry with resources, updates to the current situation, answers to questions, and everything in between.

    We are in the process of creating and identifying solutions to the economic hardship this coronavirus pandemic is causing the industry, but we can’t do it without your help.

    Please continue to contact your federal and local lawmakers, and keep an eye out for the frequent alerts we're sending to update you throughout this crisis.

    Together, we can get through this.

    Author avatar

    Sami Smith

    Sami Smith is IHRSA's Senior Manager of Digital Communications, working to shape the organization's image on various digital platforms. On a typical day, she creates content, delivers impactful communications, and executes targeted marketing efforts to keep IHRSA at the forefront of the industry. Outside of the office, you can find her exploring new destinations, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.