El Paso

City cracking down on Valentine's Day vendors

City cracking down on Valentines Day...

As people search for last-minute Valentine's Day gifts, the City of El Paso is urging street vendors to get their permits for Valentine's Day sales. 

The Code Compliance Division is specifically cracking down on temporary “pop-up” shops.

"We go out there and inform them of the violations and we give them a chance to move. Or go down to the one-stop shop and get the documentation they need and finally if they don't do all that and we go back again and they're still there, we will issue a citation," Danny Soto, Code Field Operations Supervisor said. 

Officials say it's against city ordinance to sell anything on sidewalks, parkways, streets, street medians or any public right-of-ways. In order to sell chocolates, flowers and bears on lots or other property, vendors must have a permit. A vendor’s license, temporary placement permit and permission from a property owner are required.

A temporary permit is $52.41 and good for the day. A vendors license is $50. 

"It's hard because it takes a lot of time for us. We have to dedicate a lot of time," Vendor Marta Vargas said. 

Vargas and her sister own La Tuti's snacks and also operate a food truck near Bowie High School. She tells ABC-7 they get a good rush during the lunch hour but it's still expensive to keep up with so many different permits and letters. 

"Cutting down the prices because it's expensive. If you don't pass the inspection, you have to repay the inspection so I think it's kind of hard when you don't have the money," Vargas said. 

The permits are obtained at the One Stop Shop at 811 Texas Avenue. Placement permits are only good for the actual address shown on the permit.

"Temporary permits are usually for the day you're selling there. And also the temporary placement permits. That's why the temporary they're just good for that day, or the couple of days that they're there. After that they do have to get other placement permits. If they go to a different location or the same location and a different time," Soto said. 

Soto tells ABC-7 there were some violations on Valentine's Day, but didn't have too many issues with vendors. 

"We've gone to some people but they're having their placement permit and they're having their license so it's no real big issues today."

Soto says it's important for vendors to keep up with documentation to ensure customer safety.

"It's just to help the public, keeps the public safe and makes sure that they're selling what they're selling. It's safety for the public to know that they can buy it and also that they're not trespassing on somebody's property, that they're supposed to be there. All that helps," Soto said. 

If a vendor is cited, they can be fined anywhere up to $200. 

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