Two Los Angeles City Council members Tuesday introduced a motion to reestablish an enforcement moratorium against unpermitted street vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
City officials established an enforcement moratorium against unpermitted street vendors after the city legalized vending in 2018. The moratorium was designed to allow vendors to obtain permits before being cited, but the moratorium was lifted by the City Council at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the moratorium was lifted, less than 1% of vendors — 90 out of 10,000 in L.A. County — had obtained a permit, according to the motion, which was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilman Curren Price.
“LA’s street vendors are our city’s original micro-entrepeneurs, adding vibrancy to our streets and building wealth in immigrant communities,” Raman wrote on Twitter.
“But our convoluted health code and permitting process is subjecting them to fines, harassment and worse,” she added.
In the motion, Price and Raman noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor street vending is by nature safer for consumers than indoor or outdoor seated dining. Additionally, since many street vendors in the area are in the U.S. without documentation, they are not eligible for relief funds by the federal government and rely on income brought in by street vending to feed their family and stay housed.
The motion, if adopted, would instruct StreetsLA and the Los Angeles Police Department to reestablish the moratorium for the duration of the COVID-19 State of Emergency and for six months after it is lifted. During that time, StreetsLA would be instructed to provide an education and outreach campaign to vendors about getting permitted.
The motion would also instruct StreetsLA to provide an update on their discussions with the L.A. County Department of Public Health regarding permit requirements and how the city and county can collaborate to create a program that would allow for vendor participation.
The motion was not immediately scheduled for a vote by the City Council.