Los Angeles

Los Angeles Street Vendors Demand End to Citations

Getty Images street vendor

During this pandemic street vendors who do not have permits from  the LA County’s Health Department are being fined.

But the vendors assure that the permits are expensive and that they are not giving it to those who have smaller food carts, so some say they are at a crossroads to earn a living.

With fines of between $200 and up to $1,000, those who go out to sell food without the Los Angeles County health permit are being penalized.

"I have not worked for more than 3 months that has affected me a lot because I owe rent," said Ana Cruz, a street vendor.

While other vendors like Mr. Aurelian, in the same situation, he says he has spent his savings.

"Many of us already finished what little we had," said Aureliano Santiago, a street vendor.

Part of the reason that smaller sidewalk carts such as hot dogs or pupusas are not being allowed for food sales.

"There is no car approved by them, that's why we came to ask us to approve a cart for sale," Cruz said.

Currently the cars that do qualify for the sale of food in Los Angeles are the largest, such as food trucks. 

"Those carts that cost $25,000 or more and can't be put on the sidewalk," said Merlin Alvarado, a street vendor.

In addition to that cost of the cart, the health department permits cost about $900 and among other requirements they must invest only a total of $1651 in permits.

In a protest held on Monday, they asked the Los Angeles County authorities to come up with a solution and collaborate with them, so they can legally sell their products. 

"Don't put fines on us, let us work," Santiago said.

"We are asking for a cart to be made that is accessible to the street vendor economy," Alvarado said.

Those who already have the county health permit can legally sell while keeping the social distancing requirements but according to some vendors, of the thousands of food vendors in Los Angeles, very few have managed to get those permits.

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