Palm Springs Street Vendors Speak Out Against New Regulations

Carmela Karcher

New local rules are impacting a Southern California staple: street vendors.

Now, they are taking a stand.

“This ordinance would impact vendors,” Coachella Valley Organizer Alejandro Meza Aguilar said. “The prohibition is set to exclude street vendors from the tourist focused economy that we have here.”

Last week, Palm Springs City Council voted on new rules to regulate where, when and how street vendors can operate throughout the city.

They require permits for vendors, limit where and when they are able to sell food or goods and say they must follow safety regulations.

But the biggest rule many of them are worried about is the limits of operation during tourist season.

“The current prohibition as it stands is from October 1st to April 30th every year, Friday to Sunday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. That’s economic protectionism,” Aguilar continued. “It could be more equitable and be reduced to say, 4 to 8 p.m. since a lot of the businesses downtown close a little earlier.”

Palm Springs City Council discussed implementing the rules for over a year.

The city didn’t have any regulations for street vendors, like having business and health permits, until now.

They say they were also receiving complaints from residents and wanted to create these new regulations with health and safety in mind.

“We were receiving complaints regarding the safety of the consumers and also the location of where the vendors were located,” Palm Springs City Code Compliance Supervisor David Recio explained. “A lot of these vendors are located at intersections and it creates a safety hazard regarding traffic, vehicular traffic, or pedestrian traffic…The city does encourage those entrepreneurs who do want to come into our city to obtain the proper permits with the city and county and to just abide by the rules that are set forth.”

But advocates say they hope vendors and the city can work together moving forward.

“We hope that the prohibition is reduced to 4 to 8 p.m. to ensure that it’s more equitable towards street vendors,” Aguilar said. “Hopefully that we can strike a more equitable ordinance that makes a good impact.”

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