San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello has relented, allowing vending on Cross Crossing to take effect from next Monday.
The rest of the food service sector will enjoy a phased reopening that day after a shutdown of two and a half months.
On Tuesday, the San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC) decided not to allow vending on that strip because of the logistical challenges of managing social distancing in the cramped space allotted to vendors.
Regrello met with over 50 vendors who sell there on Friday morning at the City Auditorium and gave in after they promised to observe the health protocols.
He told the Newsday evening vendors agreed to work from 2-8 pm, leaving in time to get home before the 9 pm curfew, which is still in effect.
He said the vendors also agreed to manage their customers to ensure they do not congregate in front of their carts or mobile units, wear their masks and social distance.
It was agreed that if there is a line, one individual from each cart would walk through and take orders from customers.
“The first couple of days will be a trial period, and we will see if they adhere. The police will be out in full numbers, and if things don’t work out, people would be charged.
“I don’t think the problem is with the vendors, but with their customers in adhering to the regulations.”
Vice president of the Cross Crossing Food Vendors Association, Winston Cutting, who runs Winston’s Grill Burgers, was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
“The meeting was informative. We had a good discussion and came up with solutions to control the gathering and avoid congregating, which was the main issue for refusal with the mayor.
“We came up with a plan where we will have additional police in place.
"Owners of carts and mobile units will be in charge of ensuring their customers social distance, we would have curbside pick-up, and we will move forward from there.”
Cutting said having been open from late in the evening until the next morning, the vendors do not know how customers will adjust to the 2-8 pm shift.
On adjusting to the new hours, he said, “We have to work with what we have.”
He is hoping if they open within that time span for a longer period people would adjust and support them.
Cutting said they have always had a system of pre-ordering and will be encouraging customers to accelerate its use, given the dynamics of the new situation.
He said vendors will share contact information with their customers.
Having been out of work for a long period, Cutting said the vendors were happy to be back.