We are living through a very strange time right now with everything going on. The COVID-19 virus has turned the world we knew around. These are uncertain and difficult times for many people. I used to intern at Big Gay Ice Cream in the city doing their creative marketing and due to the social distancing laws set in place they have had to lay off all employees. This isn’t the only company that had to do so countless other companies and restaurants are going through similar situations. It made me think of all the street vendors and how this must be affecting them. I looked up how these new social distancing law were affecting street vendors and I was saddened to learn that they do not have the same protection that restaurants have. Due to social distancing there are less people on the streets, and business for street vendors have diminished exponentially.
According to Eater, “several vendors still remain in the outer boroughs, the ones in Manhattan have largely decamped due to a massive drop in foot traffic this past week.” Street vendors do not have the same luxury as major restaurant chain groups of offering delivery for its customers or the ability to continue to pay its employees with diminishing businesses. The street vendor project online outlines how street vendors, “are generally not eligible for state-sponsored benefits or support like paid sick leave and unemployment insurance, or even small business relief funds.” They are asking for more protection for workers and I feel like in a time of coming together we should look out for everyone around us. Something as simple as ensuring that workers no matter of their legal status “are eligible for unemployment insurance and any forthcoming emergency relief funds” as well as creating grant opportunities for “low-income sole proprietors that street vendors and other small business owners”.
During a time of uneasiness and unknown territory people should come together to support all those in the community from the doctors and nurses standing at the front lines everyday to the bus operators who are also helping the city run smoothly, to the street vendors that do not have all the resources and protection they need.