LA to help street vendors get permits, equipment amid COVID-19 struggles

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 01: Street vendors wearing protective masks cook tacos for customers during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on May 01, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images)

The City Council has voted to use $6 million in federal CARES Act funding to help street vendors procure equipment and permits needed to comply with local laws.

"I am very pleased that my motion passed council today to support street vendors relative to the COVID-19 Street Vending Recovery Fund,'' Councilman Gilbert Cedillo said.

"The fund establishes ... grants to micro-entrepreneurs, a category that consists primarily of street vendors due to the strict income eligibility guidelines.''

The $6 million will distributed through the L.A. Regional COVID Fund.

Vendors can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to help them get the supplies and
permits to operate within the city and county of Los Angeles, according to
Cedillo, who co-authored the motion with councilmembers Monica Rodriguez and Curren Price.

Cedillo said just more than a dozen of the thousands of vendors that operate in Los Angeles currently have valid licenses to operate.

The program follows Cedillo's Street Vendor Ambassador Project to provide vendors in his council district with business education and financial assistance of up to $1,500, which began Sept. 4.

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The councilman has filed a motion asking city staff to report back on the feasibility of a pilot program to deploy social distancing markers on sidewalks for street vendors, which would adhere to city and county health guidelines.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, it was important for us to protect life over livelihood,'' Cedillo said. "Now that our economy is beginning to open up, it is just as important for us to continue to prioritize health in the middle of an incredibly challenging health crisis, but also to provide forms of relief to help people get back onto their feet.''

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