As New Yorkers stay inside, a bumpy road back to business for NYC street food vendors

According to the organization Street Vendor Project, it’s been a bumpy road for food vendors across the five boroughs since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“We estimate that about 90% lost their business," said Matthew Shapiro, legal director for the organization.

The pandemic keeping New Yorkers inside is to blame. Even now, some are choosing to avoid street food.

Speaking to FOX 5 NY, the owner of The Roadside Grill on Columbus Avenue said that business just started to pick up two weeks ago and he’s just starting to break even now. He shells out about $300-500 a day just to operate-— that’s the cost of paying employees, food, drinks, ice, and gas.

“Every day it was getting slower and then it wasn’t busy enough," said owner Andrew Velis. “We are washing, sanitizing all the time, gloves, masks.”

Eva Lokaj and her food truck ‘Old Traditional Polish Cuisine’ are still struggling to stay afloat. The truck is now making deliveries.

“Even though Phase Three is open it’s just doesn’t seem that there’s a tremendous amount of people who are going to be coming to your truck and eating,  that’s why we’ve been trying to implement other things but it’s hard,” said Lokaj.

As more New Yorkers venture out this summer and COVID-19 cases continue to decline in the Tristate area, vendors will be here waiting and hope you’ll come back.


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