IHRSA’s Lobbying for the Fitness Industry Continues


Since March, IHRSA has been fighting an uphill battle to get health clubs relief and show how critical they are to public health. Here’s a brief update of our lobbying efforts

BOSTON, MA—September 24, 2020—Although health and fitness clubs are open—to some degree—in every state, things are still bad for the fitness industry. Restrictions, maximum capacities, member cancellations, and cleaning protocols, for example, are making it tough for many businesses to stay afloat.

This is a brief update of IHRSA’s lobbying activity during August. (An extensive review of everything we’re doing is also available.)

Over the past six months, IHRSA has dedicated countless hours, manpower, and resources to advocate for the fitness industry, lobby for relief from Congress, and ensure states open and keep clubs open. From the curation of resources to calls with industry leaders and lobbyists, sending letters to governors to grassroots campaigns—and everything in between—we’re working diligently to prove how vital clubs are.

For more information on IHRSA’s lobbying actions, IHRSA’s Coronavirus Action Center includes an interactive timeline of industry efforts and events since the first clubs were mandated to close. Additionally, this timeline details IHRSA’s early lobbying efforts and the more recent July lobbying efforts

Federal Update

IHRSA continues to lobby for relief and revitalization for the industry and will provide updates as more information becomes available. We are doing all we can to ensure the industry is well-positioned in case a bill is passed. 

At this time, the focus of our efforts are:

  • A continued push for PR and media coverage in Washington, D.C., as well as the media markets of key Senate members.
  • Direct lobbying to influential Congressional and Senate committee members, such as the Senate and House Small Business Committees, Senate Committee on Finance, and the House Committee on Ways and Means. 
  • Boosting support for the RESTART Loan Act by actively recruiting co-sponsors and promoting the measure’s inclusion in the next relief bill.

State Update

The closing weeks of August and the first week of September did see a long-overdue thawing at the state level as all the previously unopened states finally restored fitness to their citizens.  

IHRSA has been holding State Leadership meetings every two weeks with State Alliance Leaders and Industry Leadership Council members. The collaboration and sharing of best practices have been helpful to all involved short-term. Long-term, strong alliances at the state level will help the industry fare better with state legislative actions.

Image of the Industry PR Efforts

Since the start of the crisis, our three overarching industry PR messages have been—and remain to be:

  1. Clubs and exercise are essential,
  2. Clubs are safe, and
  3. Clubs are hurting.

We are consistently curating new resources to change the media’s narrative around the essential nature of physical activity, the importance of clubs, and the need for relief for the industry. Refer to IHRSA’s August lobbying recap for more information regarding PR efforts.

About IHRSA 

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion.

As the sole association representing the U.S. fitness industry, IHRSA protects clubs from legislative and regulatory burdens, promotes the industry's contributions to the nation’s health, and actively supports policies to grow the exercising population.

At the state level, IHRSA monitors and protects health clubs from the legislative and legal issues that could affect daily business operations. IHRSA advocates on a number of legislative issues, including—but not limited to—use or nonuse of an AED, rules and restrictions affecting membership contracts, personal trainer regulations, locker room privacy issues, and sales tax proposals that would increase the cost of health club services.

On the legal front, IHRSA provides its members with resources to act as guides for a number of issues such as employment law, harassment, injury liability, hiring independent contractors, and overseeing kids in your club. 

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