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Many Watsonville residents are expressing their growing concerns over street vendors operating illegally within the city.
While receiving numerous complaints, we realized that many of these merchants (door-to-door sales representatives, food truck vendors, ice cream vendors, etc.) are unaware of what’s required of them.
So, we’re wanting to change that. Our officers will be out conducting more compliance checks and educating street vendors about city regulations and the permits they’re required to have.
“We’re not trying to shutdown vendors. We know this is their livelihood. We’re just wanting them to obtain the permits so that they know the rules and regulations,” said Officer Elizabeth Sousa.
All traveling merchants in Watsonville are required to have three different permits; a Santa Cruz County Health Department permit, a permit from the Watsonville Police Department and a business license from the City of Watsonville.
Sousa explained that it takes about a month for the police department to approve and issue a permit. However, the vendor must already have a permit from the Santa Cruz County Health Department and any form of valid identification.
“When you bring that in, we conduct a background check and with that, we take your fingerprints. We just make sure you’re not wanted for any major crimes,” said Sousa.
A process that Omar Luna, a Watsonville ice cream vendor, is now familiar with after his vending cart was taken away in 2018 for operating illegally within city limits.
“Since we’re dealing with children, they can’t just be handing out permits to everyone if they’ve committed any major crimes,” said Luna.
Luna has since obtained all the required permits.
“We’re doing this to ensure the safety of the community as well as the vendors,” said Sousa.
By conducting additional compliance checks, we’re hoping to make it fair and safe for everyone, especially vendors like Omar who play by the rules.
“If they have their permits I can’t say anything. They’re free to sell even if I were to get upset,” said Luna.
We look forward to working with the community and traveling merchants that are interested in obtaining these permits through the Watsonville Police Department and the City of Watsonville. Our direct permitting phone number is (831) 768-3386.
Should you want to look further into our requirements: http://bit.ly/2K9UbyB
WATCH FULL STORY: https://youtu.be/rJc47u_nMAU