The U.S. House of Representatives passed a third stimulus package on March 27, and the president signed the bill later that day, but the bill, also known as the CARES Act, does not provide stimulus money specifically for the health club industry.
IHRSA, the trade association for commercial health clubs, had lobbied for Congress to include health club operators and fitness suppliers in the bill.
“Congress is well aware that the CARES Act does not address everything small businesses' and effected individuals' needs and has already begun discussing a fourth economic relief package, likely to come at some point in April,” a spokesperson for IHRSA told Club Industry. “IHRSA's GR Team and lobbyists are already looking into it and talking with our contacts in Congress. We expect to have a new lobbying campaign out as soon as there are specifics to lobby on.”
Even though the bill does not specifically address the needs of the fitness industry, it does offer assistance to small businesses, defined as companies with 500 or fewer employees.
Here is a recap of the assistance for small business operators, according to an article summarizing the bill on NPR.com:
“The main features for small businesses are emergency grants and a forgivable loan program for companies with 500 or fewer employees. There are also changes to rules for expenses and deductions meant to make it easier for companies to keep employees on the payroll and stay open in the near-term.
Emergency grants: The bill provides $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 to provide emergency funds for small businesses to cover immediate operating costs.
Forgivable loans: There is $350 billion allocated for the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage and existing debt could be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
Relief for existing loans: There is $17 billion to cover six months of payments for small businesses already using SBA loans.”
IHRSA has more details about the bill here and is providing daily updates to IHRSA members.