There is no doubt the hotel industry has been severely impacted by coronavirus.
Thousands of rooms sit empty, many workers have been laid off, others have taken pay cuts.
But a hotel in North Dallas found a way to turn their losses into help for those on the front lines of Covid-19.
The 350-room hotel along the frontage road to LBJ Freeway has been nearly empty since coronavirus hit North Texas.
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Occupancy rates have gone from about 70% to less than 10% on most nights, according to management.
The hotel had to lay off half of its employees, about 50 people.
Despite the major losses, owner John Blomfield’s philosophy is that of doing the next big thing.
And here it is.
Wyndham Garden North Dallas is opening its doors to first responders.
Doctors, nurses, hospital workers with credentials, as well as firefighters, paramedics, and police officers who fear returning home after a long shift concerned that they may have contracted the virus.
“We’re just not seeing any other business right now so why not help,” said general manager Zachery Warren. “Our owner was like let’s just offer it to any first responders that are out there that need a place to stay because they’re worried about taking this home to their families.”
First responders are invited to stay at the hotel for at least a week, maybe longer depending on Dallas County’s shelter-in-place order.
Their hotel stay is free.
There are some food options available at a discounted rate.
There’s room for up to 150 first responders and maybe more, according to management.
There are currently 85 first responders taking up the offer, most are nurses.
“Let’s help out these first responders who are on the front lines trying to save us, trying to save the economy, and trying to get this epidemic over with,” said Warren. “This is worse than September 11th for the hotel business and so anything we can do to try and help is what we’re going to do.”
Wyndham Garden says it is ensuring their small staff is protected even though there are no official mandates for hotel worker safety provided by the federal government.
Warren says he’s keeping up with CDC guidelines.
Employees are provided masks and hand sanitizer for their carts.
Housekeepers are not offering room service or cleaning first responder rooms until they’ve been unoccupied for three days since experts say Covid-19 does not survive on surfaces after that.
First responders are also being housed in areas separate from paying customers.
The hotel’s gesture has led others to lend a helping hand. A florist whose business is shut down donated flowers for first responders as they check-in.
A family in Flower Mound has also volunteered to buy 50 pizzas and will be handing them out to first responders tomorrow evening.