Weeks of March 30 and April 6
On April 1, IHRSA organized a call for mid-sized club operators who could not qualify for the SBA loan program. We sent a letter to the SBA requesting a waiver of affiliation rule, allowing all clubs to participate in the SBA loan program. We simultaneously launched a call-in campaign, in which affected club owners could reach out directly to their members of Congress to request they support a fix to the SBA loan eligibility issue.
Based on the numerous industries that are currently lobbying the federal legislature—all for a slice from the same pie of relief—and our commitment to the industry, IHRSA chose to strengthen our position in D.C. We decided to add two additional lobbyist firms and increase the scope of our existing lobbyist. These lobbyists will give the fitness industry a higher profile in Washington, D.C. More lobbyists, with connections on both sides of the aisle, will increase IHRSA’s strength in its efforts to advocate for the industry. In particular, we’re looking to expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility, business interruption insurance, potential rent/lease relief, and a 9/11-style Business and Employee Continuity Recovery Fund.
IHRSA, in concert with our D.C. lobbyists, worked with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s office to spearhead a Congressional sign-on letter to the SBA requesting expansion of the SBA loan program to cover the affected mid-sized clubs. Members of Congress would sign the letter. We then launched a grassroots campaign to our full membership to contact Congress and request a fix to the SBA eligibility issue. On April 7, IHRSA held a call with industry leaders announcing the decision to add new lobbyists to support the push for a fix to the SBA eligibility issue and to give the industry a stronger voice in lobbying for relief in future stimulus packages.