How to Run a Fitness Industry Alliance in Your State [Toolkit]

COVID-19 caught the fitness industry by surprise, and this toolkit is one resource necessary to make sure that it will never happen again.

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Sadly, there are bound to be laws that emerge post-COVID that could dramatically affect your business. It’s not a matter of if—but when—states will begin imposing regulations and taxes on already hurting clubs, state alliances will be critical.

In the U.S., state legislatures have the most impact on the industry-specific laws that directly impact the health club industry. State laws govern the terms of membership contracts, renewals, sales tax, and other provisions that directly impact your business and the ability to operate and make a profit.

Could your business survive if lawmakers outlaw everything but month-to-month contracts? What if they impose a high sales tax?

During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, states and state governors have had the power to close, reopen, and re-close businesses like health clubs. IHRSA has been working diligently in all 50 states and Washington D.C. to open—and, in some cases, reopen clubs—and keep these businesses operating. We also worked with industry leaders in states across the country, providing them with tools and resources to strengthen their voices and expand their reach at the state level.

This toolkit takes those various resources and wraps them up into one all-encompassing resource to help you and your peers create, manage, and run your state or regional alliance. To lobby individual governors and local lawmakers more directly, many IHRSA members are forming regional alliances of operators within their state.

In this toolkit, you will find:

  • Template letter you can send to your Governor and Four sample Letters from IHRSA to Arizona, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina on requesting guidance and reopening
  • Fact sheets breaking down the Importance of the fitness industry by state
  • Key considerations document for sports, fitness, aquatics & ancillary facilities and clubs in the context of COVID-19 with accompanying risk assessment and mitigation tools
  • IHRSA's Guide to Hiring and Working with a Lobbyist
  • IHRSA Advocacy at the State Level
  • Sample Legal Documents to help you Incorporate your Alliance
  • Gyms Mitigating Risk Pose No Extra Risk: A Guide to Using the Data
  • Guide to Writing a Press Release
  • Reference of IHRSA’s Legislative Positions
  • How to work with IHRSA to start a grassroots campaign
  • Checklist to help you get started

IHRSA created this toolkit to act as a guide to creating a business alliance in your state. It is not meant as legal advice or in place of consultation with your lawyer. While IHRSA is excited to work with alliances and collaborate on strategy, we are not involved in any coalition’s day-to-day operations. If you have any additional questions, please contact a Government Relations team member by emailing gr@ihrsa.org.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of organizing at the state and local level. IHRSA is committed to advancing physical activity and protecting and promoting the industry across the U.S. and is happy to work with these regional and state alliances—which are beneficial to the industry as we work through closures and reopening.”

Helen Durkin, J.D., Executive Vice President of Public Policy

IHRSA - Boston, MA