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Corona Street Vendors Hit With Summonses During Pandemic, Sparks Outrage from Activists

NYPD officers issued summons to three street vendors on Monday (Street Vendor Project)

May 20, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Three immigrant street vendors were issued summonses by the NYPD for selling tamales and flowers on Monday — sparking outrage from activists and elected officials over the enforcement during a pandemic that has burdened the immigrant community.

The vendors were ticketed for selling tamales and flowers inside Corona Plaza without vendor licenses.

New York City has not made new general vendor licenses available since 1979, according to the Street Vendor Project.

The organization blasted Monday’s summons as a “disgrace” and is calling on the mayor and NYPD to immediately suspend enforcement of street vendors during the coronavirus health crisis.

“Street vendors are parents, caretakers, and community leaders who have been disproportionately impacted by both the health and economic crises throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mohamed Attia, Executive Director of the Street Vendor Project.

“New York should be leading the way in demonstrating how a sanctuary city protects its immigrant residents and businesses during a crisis, not ticketing and levying fines on the most marginalized,” Attia said.

One undocumented vendor selling flowers at Corona Plaza said they must work to feed their family.

“None of us have received any [government] aid,” the vendor said. “I have to work – how am I going to tell my son there’s no food for him tonight?”

Many undocumented immigrant vendors must continue to work during the pandemic because they do not qualify for federal aid such as the CARES Act stimulus checks.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio has partnered with the organization Open Society Foundations to provide $20 million in one time relief payments to 20,000 undocumented immigrants, critics say it falls critically short.

The payments would reach less than 5 percent of city’s estimated 477,000 undocumented immigrants.

The one-time payments are also significantly less than the $1,200 plus checks most U.S. citizens and green card holders received. Single adults get $400, couples or a single parent get $800 and a family with multiple adults and children get $1,000 under the city’s initiative.

Several city and state officials have called on the mayor to suspend enforcement of vendor regulations during the pandemic, unless a vendor constitutes a significant risk to public health.

The summons and fines add extra burdens to struggling immigrants, they say.

Local elected officials decried Monday’s summons.

“Criminalizing defenseless immigrants for selling tamales and flowers when there is actual crime at bay is not right,” State Sen. Jessica Ramos said in a statement. “Our street vendors have no financial means to support themselves in this crisis and they did not pose any threat to our community.”

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz said her office has mediated similar concerns between the local precinct and streets vendors in the past and is working with all parties to understand what led to the latest incident on Monday.

“Our street vendors are woven into the fiber of our community,” Cruz said. “Because of status and the nature of their work, many, if not most have been left out of the bail outs and other financial support during this pandemic.”

“If these folks are not allowed to work, they cannot eat, they cannot pay rent, simply, they cannot survive,” she added.

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Clean up NYC

Food should not be sold on the filthy, rat and roach infested streets of NYC. Don’t forget the bird droppings too.

J Murphy

I’ve read your responses to several articles and your bias is clear. Sorry about not mentioning how these poor immigrants are exploited by employers. I agree with you on that point but again that is merely another symptom of a greater malaise….try for just a minute to look at the “BIG” picture. The left’s support of the immigrant “cause” is fake. Without some kind of social inequity….they have NO BASE. The last thing the Progressive left wants is to lift the underclass out of poverty. Revolutions are fomented by the disenfranchised. Almost impossible to have one without using people who have nothing to lose and corrupt the youth with propaganda.


You can also get sick from salads, Pizzarias and any restaurant if they are not wearing gloves when prepping food.


J Murphy: and the Republican party is not complicit in the demise of the middle class as well? Your post is foolish.

McDonald's and Burger King are still open...

Because they have the proper licenses and permits to operate legally…get a proper street vendors license and they can too…


If AOC and her big rude mouth didnt drive Amazon out we’d have a nice little 40,000 job hub over here in LIC. Amazon is one of the few companies doing well. Too bad we have lousy politicians leading us,


Do those activists eat the food that’s being sold without a license? Although I wouldn’t be surprised if they did… Regardless, I rather see them get shut down not just ticketed than see people get sick.

I’ve said this before, NY has to pick a lane. Support illegals or get rid of them. This is nothing to do with being against immigration or immigrants. They are turning NY into a honeypot that draws these immigrants but when something goes wrong, they are the ones getting hit and suffer the highest. Do you think those immigrants who live in Corona would have gotten this sick if they were in their hometowns?
NY has absolutely no control, like open borders, they need to figure out a way to limit the number somehow. Open arms to all immigrants, until something goes wrong.. That’s a shame.

El loco

Are they above the law because they are immigrants. Probably most are illegal.

Why does Trump want open borders?

Great point: the president has a terrible record on border safety.

4 years with a Republican senate and he hasn’t built an inch. Do you still believe we’re getting that “one-time payment” from Mexico for the wall? You’re so gullible you believed that ?


Would be nice to donate some tamales and flowers to healthcare workers at Elmhurst.


They would get more publicity if they fined them on the subway, filmed it and cried to the media. With a translator of course.


Murphy- Nothing about the people who Hire illegals. Your post has no integrity.

Trump paid millions for using so much illegal labor

He lost a lawsuit because he employed SO MANY illegal immigrants. You’re right, we should blame those people.


So they wait in line at the food bank, go home and cook and then sell what they made to their neighbors for some profit on the


Well, the coronavirus is still spreading through New York City’s low-income, predominantly minority communities when compared with the general population. They have to do something so people do not congregate.


This lockdown represents a cleansing of the lower working class and people with not to much income. The windup being further gentrification!!!!!

J Murphy

Over the past 20 years, America’s greatest import hasn’t been goods from China, it was “POVERTY”. America by its open border policy has created the situation highlighted by this article. it is indeed terrible that these ‘immigrants” cannot feed their families….it also runs counter to the Progressive argument that they have been a boon to our economy and culture. What they have been and continue to be is a “burden” . They have been used by the ‘left” to secure a political base and forward an ideology. Similar to what the Democratic Party has done to African Americans the past 60 years. Without the never ending “struggle” …..who would constitute their base….hence perpetuate misery while staying in power. I agree that there exists a divide but this has been carefully orchestrated and the woman in the photo pays the price ….along with the dwindling middle class.

Agreed, we've seen RECORD unemployment under Trump

Trump’s failed response wiped out the pandemic, leading to poverty like you said. If only we had more Lysol injections.

It’s a shame you’re so critical of our president, just because he was only a game show host doesn’t mean he can’t handle a national pandemic.


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