Fresno body shop seeing decline in business with stay at home order

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Usually, during afternoon rush hour in Fresno County, highways would be congested with vehicles. At the moment, that's not the case.

"We have seen a significant decrease in traffic," says CHP Sgt. Joseph Bianchi.

CHP reports an at least 50 percent reduction since the stay at home order was issued, but that doesn't necessarily equal fewer calls for service.

"It is about the same as normal," Sgt. Bianchi said. "We may have seen a little bit of a decrease just because there has been less traffic on the roadways."

The overall decrease can be perceived as good but spells bad news for one local business.

Maclynn Dockstader is the president of Fresno Body Works.

He's seen a dramatic decline in business over the last couple of weeks.

On a normal day, each of his four shops averaged about five to seven cars, but now they're lucky if they see at least two come in.

"They don't need to go out as often," Dockstader said. "Some people are frightened to go out. Even when they are out because the roads are less congested, they are not running into each other, and that affects our business."

Dockstader is now faced with the difficult task of laying off employees. He's already let go of 20.

"It is very, very difficult," Dockstader said. "I had to let an employee go today (Tuesday) that has been with us for 14 years."

COVID-19 has also put a strain on his supplies, making it difficult to order certain items.

If things continue the way they are now, Dockstader could be forced to make even more drastic cuts.

"I could see us closing down a location or two," Dockstader said.

Dockstader is hopeful this will all pass soon but knows realistically it'll take time for things to get back to normal.

Meanwhile, CHP is informing drivers that their enforcement efforts remain the same.
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