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street vendors in the bronx
For most street vendors at the Bronx Terminal Market, sales started to decline on Monday, March 9th.

The impact of the COVID-19 on street vendors and small businesses has been severe. Based on anecdotal information that the NYC Department of Small Business Services has received, small businesses have seen a decline in sales from 40 percent to 80 percent.

“We start hearing, late January early February, of declines of 40 to 50 percent, and then we start to hear alarming numbers in terms of 80 percent. These are mostly restaurants, catering houses, etcetera” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services said last week.

Street vendors have seen a sharper impact. “Most of [street] vendors we talked to in the past few days have expressed that their sales declined by an average of 60 to 80 percent,” said Mohamed Attia, Street Vendor Project’s Director, through email. “Some are staying home now and can’t go to work, but most are going out regardless, not that they want to, as they have to in order to survive. It’s a really tough decision that folks are making now, choosing between being at risk and starving!”

For most street vendors at the Bronx Terminal Market, sales started to decline on Monday, March 9th. Most of the street vendors in that spot reported at least a 50 percent reduction in sales. For example, a vendor of winter hats and other headwear said he used to sell approximately $200 per day, and after March 9th he just sold $50 worth. A corn elotes and tamales vendor also reported a 50 percent sales reduction, though, for him, the hit came over this past weekend.

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