The Latest Fitness Industry Alerts & Policy Updates

    Know when to take action, protect your business from threats, and become a voice for the fitness industry.

    Want to know the latest advocacy news and information on key national and state issues impacting gyms, studios, and the fitness industry as a whole? Make sure you check your inbox for IHRSA’s Legislative Alerts or find it here in one streamlined location.

    Check back regularly for the latest updates, announcements, and more.

    [NATIONAL] December 3, 2021: What happened to the GYMS Act?

    Congress is working on a bill to provide COVID relief to a small number of uniquely harmed industries. Relief for gyms is very much a part of the conversation for inclusion in this bill.

    While the timing of relief has slipped to early 2022, we are the closest we have ever been to getting relief from the ravages of COVID for gyms. Hurdles remain, of course. Some days, big hurdles. But by consistently executing on the game plan we outlined last year and leveraging the tremendous efforts of industry professionals from across the industry, we are now in a position where relief for gyms may soon be a reality.

    It is remarkable how far our industry has come to get to this point. The GYMS Act is the reason we are under serious consideration right now for federal relief.

    [NATIONAL] November 29, 2021: Relief for Gyms Update

    The Senate is negotiating a business relief bill RIGHT NOW! This may be our best shot to get the federal relief that health clubs, gyms, and studios so desperately need.

    The Senate will be making its decision as early as this week.

    How you can help: Take part in the campaign.

    [NATIONAL] November 10, 2021: Congress Eliminates Employee Retention Tax Credit for Q4

    The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act rolled back the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) as of September 30. As a result, wages paid after September 30 are ineligible for the credit. The ERTC was originally scheduled to end on December 31, 2021, but Congress terminated it three months early to help offset some of the cost of the infrastructure bill.

    The ERTC was a fully refundable tax credit for employers closed or partially closed due to COVID-19 and experienced a decline of more than 20%.

    IHRSA worked with a coalition of industries lobbying to protect access to the ERTC through the end of 2021.

    These efforts included a push from champions in the House of Representatives to oppose the early rollback of the ERTC. Unfortunately, the Senate made it clear that they would not accept any changes to the infrastructure bill they passed, which included the ERTC rollback. As a result, the House of Representatives was unable to amend the bill, and the ERTC rollback stood.

    In addition to these advocacy efforts, IHRSA and others have sought clarification from the IRS on how the IRS will treat the advance withholding from (past) payroll tax deposits and if the rollback will make the business entity indebted to the IRS, including potential penalties and late fees.

    IHRSA will continue to work with other industries to seek opportunities to restore the ERTC for the fourth quarter. We will post updates when available.

    [STATE] November 8, 2021: Massachusetts Bill to Subsidize Cost of Gym Memberships Set for Hearing

    Lawmakers in Massachusetts filed S.1509, a bill that would create a program to subsidize memberships to health clubs, gyms and fitness centers and a public awareness campaign to promote citizens of Massachusetts living healthier lifestyles in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Joint Committee on Public Health will consider S.1509 in a hearing this week.

    The bill would direct the department of public health to establish a gym membership subsidy program to incentivize public and private employers to offer free gym memberships for employees.

    The program would be implemented through an application system where employers can apply for reimbursement for the costs of offering employees free gym memberships.

    [NATIONAL] November 5, 2021: Emergency Temporary Standard on Biden Vaccine Mandate Released

    On Thursday, November 4, OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) on the vaccine mandate.

    Businesses with 100 or more employees—including part and full-time employees—must require employees to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. Employees who are not fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 have to produce a verified negative test to their employers every week.

    On November 6, 2021, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the Biden Administration’s OSHA vaccine mandate. This is the first of several legal challenges anticipated on the mandate.

    We will continue to update this story as the situation develops.

    [STATE] October 27, 2021: New York City Proposal to Remove Special Permit Required to Open a Gym, Health Club or Studio, Passes Vote

    A proposal to remove the requirement that gyms, studios, and health clubs obtain a special permit to open was passed in the City Planning Commission by a vote of 10-1 in support of the Health and Fitness text amendment.

    The proposal will now move to the City Council for a public hearing, which we anticipate occurring sometime in mid-November, but the council has yet to schedule the hearing. We expect the City Council to vote on—and hopefully approve—the proposal in December.

    [STATE] October 6, 2021: Massachusetts Bill Restricting Collection of Biometric Data Set for Hearing

    The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity has set a hearing on a bill (S.220) restricting businesses' use of biometric identifiers and biometric information.

    S.220 would require businesses that collect biometric information to develop a written policy made available to the public to establish a retention schedule and guidelines for destruction of the data.

    Biometric information is any information that is captured, converted, or stored based on an individual’s biometric identifier.

    Businesses would be required to gain the customer’s written consent before the collection of any biometric data. The bill defines biometric identifiers as biological characteristics that are unique to each individual—e.g., fingerprints, retina scans, facial scans, and iris scans.

    Additionally, businesses are prohibited from selling, trading, or otherwise profiting from an individual's biometric identifiers or information. The bill also prohibits companies from sharing or disclosing without permission of the individual or in limited specified circumstances.

    [STATE] September 10, 2021: North Carolina Autorenew Bill Amended and Passed Senate

    This week, the North Carolina State Senate amended and passed house bill 103, a bill that would change the law regulating automatically renewing contracts.

    The amendment would require consumers to initial beside the automatic renewal disclosure statement in the contract and would make it illegal to charge for an automatic renewal if they did not initial beside the disclosure agreement.

    The bill, in addition to the amendment noted above, would require businesses to obtain the consumer’s affirmative consent prior to charging for the automatic renewal, and the following information to be included clearly and conspicuously in a disclosure statement in the initial contract if the contract automatically renews for a period of more than one month:

    • That the contract will be automatically renewed if the consumer agrees to the contract.

    • The length of the initial term of the contract and the length of each renewal period.

    • The amount to be charged for the initial term of the contract and any renewal periods.

    • An email address, mailing address, or toll-free phone number that the consumer may use to terminate the automatic renewal.

    Author avatar

    Jake Landry

    Jake Landry is the Public Policy Assistant for IHRSA. His primary responsibilities include monitoring legislation that affects the health club industry at the state and federal level and writing legislative alerts and articles on issues that affect IHRSA members. While not in the office, Jake enjoys soccer–both playing and watching–especially his beloved Liverpool F.C.