FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Even in these dark times of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are being a light to their community. The Holiday Inn Purdue Fort Wayne has laid off most of their staff, but is still finding a way to help first responders.

The hotel’s general manager Rob Evans said they’ve taken a huge blow from the pandemic. They’ve lost 80 percent of their business. and have gone from 65 employees to seven.

“One day business was booming and literally the next day business stopped,” he said. “We were full speed ahead and we just ran into a wall. Families are hurting, businesses are hurting, and it’s been absolutely traumatic to everyone.”

After life gets back to normal, Evans expects revenue from those visiting Fort Wayne for business or personal reasons to bounce back quickly. But all the rooms they planned to fill this year from those attending the city’s major conventions, those are a permanent loss. One of the big convention venues, the Memorial Coliseum, is literally across the street from the hotel.

“Larger conventions have canceled and they’re never going to come back because this was a year that was set for Fort Wayne, Indiana,” he explained. “Maybe they’ll come back in two years. Maybe they’ll come back in three years, or four years, or seven years depending on when Fort Wayne is in their cycle, but if we miss a convention, we’ve missed that convention.”

In this depression, though, the hotel does want to be a light. They’re offering a deal to first responders for $299 a week.

“We have healthcare workers and first responders that are nervous about going home and spreading any sort of sickness to their family, we just thought it was the right thing to do,” Evans said.

There are some first responders who have taken the hotel up on the offer.

“They’re very thankful,” Evans said. “They very much appreciate it and we very much appreciate them.”