GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- In an era of COVID-19, hotels have seen a massive decline in business. But with fire evacuations orders, hotels become a convenient place to stay safe.
BAY AREA FIRE UPDATES: Latest on evacuation orders, road closures here
Across the South Bay, the SCU Lightning Complex Fire has forced residents to evacuate their homes and find a safe place to stay like a shelter or hotel.
This is the harsh reality once again for Gilroy resident Lewis Britton.
"A month ago, we were part of the Crews Fire," Britton said. "It came within a half of a mile from our place. We basically already had everything packed up. We got a notification at about 1 o'clock in the morning saying that we needed to evacuate."
Britton took his belongings and went down the road to a local Best Western in Gilroy to wait out the evacuation orders.
RELATED: Thousands of Morgan Hill residents urged to evacuate as SCU Lightning Complex Fire burns around the region
In the tough times of a pandemic, a hotel stay isn't exactly what he says he was anticipating.
"It has been okay, it hasn't been great," Britton said. "It's not something that we planned for. We didn't want to have to spend the money that we have to spend here to do that."
A handyman by trade, Britton was already back to work on Monday to work through the extra expenses.
Then things got a bit more difficult and expensive.
VIDEO: Eerie orange haze, ash blankets Santa Cruz neighborhood near CZU Complex Fire
"While I was at the hotel, someone decided to break into the truck and steal tools out of my truck. I lost pneumatic hammers, socket sets, basically what they could carry. That's what really pisses me off. I can understand someone stealing a stereo, I can live without a stereo. But, when you start taking a man's livelihood. First you're displaced, then you've got all these extra costs that you're not anticipating and then you get someone stealing the thing that you need to make back those costs. It's to the point now where it's hard to get upset."
So how does he stay positive?
"It's a choice," Britton said. "You either stay positive or be negative and I don't like being negative. I just try to be as positive as I can."
Fire crews we've spoken to say that not everyone is evacuating when instructed to do so and they're urging people to heed these orders and find a safe place to stay, like a hotel, when needed.
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Get the latest updates and videos on the CZU, LNU and SCU Lightning Complex Fires here.
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