Street vendors still risk their health during quarantine

By Erica Cortes

As these rare circumstances change the lifestyles of others, many vendors are still risking their health from exposure to make income by selling outside their homes.

COVID-19 has changed drastically the past few weeks, making the city less crowded because people have committed to stay at home to prevent the spread of this virus. 

However, there are many people that are still willing to risk themselves to this exposure to make an income. 

Street vendors are still roaming around in the Los Angeles area. These people are risking themselves, despite being warned to stay indoors, in order to keep making profit. 

Margarita Lopez and her husband drove their ice cream truck around neighborhoods on Saturday afternoon. 

Lopez said it was their first day back driving around in two weeks. “Since me and my husband used to work at another place, this would have been our second job. So right now, that they laid us off, this is our only way to bring in money,” she said. 

The unemployment process has not been as fast as she had hope, so this is her only source of income at the moment. “It is going to take a long process, so even though we wouldn’t want to come out, it is our only choice right now to bring food to the table to our kids,” said Lopez.

Lopez had  inherited the business from her family. It had been passed down from generations to generations. Lopez has been now involved in this business for about 16 years. 

Quarantine has affected her in doing her usual routine in this business. “The thing that has changed is that we have to tell our customers to take six feet apart from the other customers and we bought Lysol spray and Clorox wipes and we change our gloves after every interaction with customers,” Lopez said. 

Others like her business, need to get permission in order to be able to drive around during this time. “We have to double make sure that the truck is cleaner. There is a person every day from the public health that is always checking the trucks. So if you’re not good with the cleaning part, you cannot go out and sell.”

The silver lining in all this is that there isn’t much competition around. However, Lopez sympathizes for people who can’t make income past their unemployment. “This is our second option, but many people do not have that second option and now it is harder for the people during this economy,” she said.

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