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Baldwin's Grandview Auto Body trudges on despite pandemic

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For longtime Baldwin body shop owner Paul Lizio, business has been struggling lately amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite being an essential service and remaining open, Grandview Auto Body, located at 713 Brooklyn Ave., has seen fewer vehicles come in for repairs and services.

“Our business relies on the volume of people driving,” Lizio, a New Hyde Park resident who’s co-owned the business for 15 years, said. “For us, it’s kind of a numbers game.” But fewer cars have been on the road as Gov. Andrew Cuomo maintains the statewide stay-at-home order.

In the first two weeks of the order, though, Lizio said he was really busy. Lots of people were coming in asking for their cars to be fixed before they headed back to work or school. Then, once the reality of how long the order may last settled in, things slowed down.

Lizio, like many local small business owners, applied for financial assistance through the available federal loan and grant programs. While he received approval for one of them, he’s waiting for the Small Business Administration to transfer the funds. None of his employees were laid off.

The pandemic has changed his usual methods, too.

“When the cars come in, I put the keys in a plastic sandwich bag,” Lizio said. “Then I’ll wipe the whole car down with a disinfectant wipe.”

Each vehicle is fully sanitized before and after his employees work on them. They’ve been using a sanitizing spray to clean the interiors of the cars to ensure that the virus does not spread if anyone is an asymptomatic carrier.

After everything is sanitized, plastic covers are placed over the steering wheel, the shift lever, the door handles and other surfaces that are frequently touched. Typically the process takes about half an hour.

As a proud Baldwin business owner and Baldwin Chamber of Commerce member, Lizio displays his “Baldwin Strong” poster distributed by the group to help others identify which shops are open for business in town.