IHRSA Adds Lobbyists to Increase Fitness Industry Power in Congress During COVID-19 Crisis

IHRSA, the trade association for commercial health clubs, has hired two firms to help its existing lobbying firm secure funding on behalf of the fitness industry, which is experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, according to a daily alert sent out on April 13 by the Boston-based association.

IHRSA’s current lobbyist, Van Scoyoc Associates, is increasing its scope. New firms joining the effort are McGuireWoods Consulting and Capitol Hill Policy Group. IHRSA is reviewing the need for additional assistance.

The move comes after the third stimulus package that Congress approved and the president signed in late March did not include the fitness industry.

The IHRSA alert noted that the additional lobbying power will help IHRSA advocate for:

  • An administrative fix to the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program that would include the entire fitness industry. If that is unsuccessful, then a technical correction in the next stimulus package
  • Rent relief
  • The inclusion of COVID-19 in business interruption insurance

IHRSA also joined a business lobbying group that is advocating for a Business and Employee Continuity Recovery Fund that would help secure money for businesses affected by COVID-19.

Due to the immediate requirement to retain additional lobbyists, IHRSA and the Industry Leadership Council (ILC) launched a dedicated fundraising campaign outside the annual ILC efforts. This campaign will generate funds to retain the new lobbyists and maintain the increased Washington, D.C., presence the industry requires. IHRSA is asking fitness businesses across the country to invest in this special fundraising effort as soon as possible.

“It is precisely because regular exercise is critical to our country’s health and economic future that keeping the health club industry strong is good for America,” Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public affairs for IHRSA, said in a media release.

As of April 13, club companies large and small have contributed more than $300,000, 100 percent of which will go directly to industry relief efforts.

To contribute and or learn more about these efforts, you can contact Meredith Poppler at [email protected] or 617-316-6750.