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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indianapolis has lost 22 conventions so far to the coronavirus pandemic.

VisitIndy president Leonard Hoops says January and February were among Indy’s best ever, and the city was expecting a big March, with 11 conventions and the NCAA men’s basketball Sweet 16. Seven of those conventions have canceled, along with 15 more this month and next.

VisitIndy is trying to reschedule another 19 conventions for the second half of the year — but there are only so many dates. Events trying to rebook are bumping up against each other and the events which were already on the calendar. Hoops says the city is trying to work with everyone, but will have to prioritize large events which are in Indy year after year.

Convention business brings$5.6 billion a year in visitor spending to Indianapolis. Hoops

says there’s no data yet on how much the city will lose.

Hoops says if things are back to normal by July, the city could roar out of the gate, with Indiana Black Expo and the GenCon game convention, followed in August by the rescheduled Indy 500.

Hoops and six other executive staffers at VisitIndy have taken pay cuts, and the entire staff will cut back to four-day work weeks this month and next. But Hoops says he expects to avoid any other furloughs or layoffs, in hopes of hitting the ground running once the coronavirus lockdown is over. But he cautions it’s unclear how willing people will be to travel again, even when restrictions are lifted.

Hoops says by June, Indy will have lost more hotel room nights than it’s added. But he says VisitIndy is still receiving calls about bookings from the second half of this year through 2029 — the bureau is actually running ahead of its goal for future bookings.

The Capital Improvement Board, which operates the convention center and the downtown stadiums, is cutting pay for all employees, and plans to borrow money for urgent repairs so it can keep its cash

balance intact for operating expenses.