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Street Vendors Struggle To Make Ends Meet Under Coronavirus Crackdowns

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During the Before Times, the intersection of 6th and Bonnie Brae would turn into a street food hub every night at around 5 p.m. The area teemed with vendors selling fried chicken and papas, Guatemalan tamales, pupusas and shredded beef tacos.

The smoky, ad hoc marketplace was a testament to the diversity of Westlake-MacArthur Park, one of Los Angeles's most densely populated neighborhoods. The median household income here is $26,000 and the area has only one mainstream grocery store.

For many people, street vending is both a potential source of income and a vital source of food.

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In mid-March, the L.A. City Council imposed a temporary moratorium on street vending. Since then, officers from the Bureau of Street Services have cracked down on MacArthur Park's street vendors.

A few vendors have adapted to the new normal, Lexis-Olivier Ray explains. Despite increased enforcement, they're willing to risk not only their health but also their freedom so they can make ends meet.


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