Said to be ‘milestone’ ordinance
The Board of Supervisors this week adopted the County’s first official Sidewalk Vending Ordinance for the unincorporated areas of LA County. This milestone provides a pathway for entrepreneurs and small businesses, particularly those historically marginalized and disconnected, into a newly legalized open-air economy, offering economic opportunity for vendors as well as conditions for better public health, safety, and well-being for all vendors, brick and mortar businesses, and community members.
The new law supports individuals in legally operating a sidewalk vending business on sidewalks and pedestrian pathways in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The Board’s action codifies the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act (Senate Bill 946), passed in 2019 to decriminalize sidewalk vending in the State of California and to allow local authorities to develop guidelines and infrastructure to formalize the sidewalk vending industry.
The County law specifically creates a Sidewalk Vending Program run by the LA County Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), a Sidewalk Vending Registration Certificate and annual fee for all mobile and stationary vendors, clear operating rules and regulations related to distancing, hours, and waste disposal, and fines and other penalties for non-compliance. The law will go into effect in August 2024.
The County’s Sidewalk Vending Program, overseen by DEO and its Office of Small Business, is designed to ensure robust and culturally competent outreach, education, and technical assistance with partners Inclusive Action for the City to support first-time registration, $0 registration fees in the first year and $100 renewals to ensure affordability, access to no- and low-cost Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH)-compliant vending carts and other equipment, connection to the Office of Small Business for legal aid, capital access, and other small business services, and a care first approach to enforcement that prioritizes compliance and all community member needs.
DEO will provide a single point of contact for vending in the unincorporated areas for the very first time and the department will coordinate closely with LA County agencies and local municipalities to achieve the Board and community goals for the Sidewalk Vending Program. DEO is investing $3.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds to support this Program.
“Sidewalk food vending is a critical part of the cultural and civic fabric of our County,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “However, fostering and celebrating this microentrepreneurial spirit will not happen if the financial barriers to entry remain too high. With the Department of Economic Opportunity waiving its associated fee for the first year, we will make it easier for vendors to come into compliance with today’s ordinances and follow the same health and safety rules that apply to our brick-and-mortar restaurants. I applaud this action and thank everyone, including advocates and residents, who provided their input during this process.”
"Before state legislation made sidewalk vending legal, sidewalk vendors - many being women of color and low-income earners - have always been part of our local economy, providing affordable and culturally diverse food for communities throughout LA County," said Supervisor Holly Mitchell. "It is critical that we provide a pathway to compliance that protects public health and builds on our work to support small businesses. I am excited that the County has passed an effective Sidewalk Vending Ordinance in our unincorporated areas – providing clear steps for ensuring vending will be safe, healthy, and non-disruptive to other businesses and residents."
For vendors and community members interested in vending, call (844) 432-4900 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.