Orange County

Vendors and the City of Orlando make strides in keeping food carts in downtown

ORLANDO, Fla. — Progress is being made between downtown street vendors and the City of Orlando.

Channel 9 told you last month when the city asked vendors to shut down or face possible fines for not having the correct permits.

After the vendors and the Channel 9 team asked the city about this, the city agreed to issue temporary-use permits through the end of the year.

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Right now, vendors essentially pay rent to private property owners to post up at certain sidewalks.

Through this new program, they’ll have to move to sidewalks owned by the city, and while they won’t have to worry about getting shut down once again, they still have some rules to follow.

For many visiting downtown Orlando on weekends, ending the night with a hot dog from people like Lorena Nunez is a tradition.

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“When people come out of these clubs drunk, we supply drink and food. If people are too drunk, we get them in the Ubers, taxis - we don’t let them drive so crazy,” Nunez said.

Vendors like Nunez are working with the city to participate in a new pilot program that will allow food carts to sell until 2:30 a.m., as long as they clear out by 3 a.m.

While many details are still being finalized, the city will set the vendors up at 10 different locations around the downtown district.

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The City of Orlando sent us a statement about the new program, saying in part: “Our goal is to keep the vendors downtown, but have specific rules...”

Those rules include properly disposing of gray water, not loitering after bars close, along with having the proper insurance and state licenses.

The city says it hopes to hash out the final draft for the pilot in the next couple weeks but the program itself won’t begin until 2023.

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Vendor Lester Pascua is thankful for the chance to reach common ground.

“This is pretty much where I feed my family,” Pascua said.

If vendors don’t have the right permits in order, including the temporary-use permit that expires in February, they could face fines up to $100 per violation.

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