Richmond imposes regulations on sidewalk vendors

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Richmond imposes regulations on sidewalk vendors
Sidewalk vendor on 23rd Street. (Photo by Mike Kinney)

The Richmond City Council on Tuesday approved new regulations requiring sidewalk vendors to obtain permits and to face administrative fines if they violate city rules. 

In 2018, Senate Bill 946 decriminalized sidewalk vending but enabled cities to regulate the practice by enforcing it with administrative fines.

On the basis of ensuring public health and safety and also fairness among vendors, the City Council approved requiring sidewalk vendors to pay an annual fee of $103.66 for a permit to operate, and to pay administrative fines if they violate city rules.

Fines against permitted sidewalk vendors will be $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for each additional violation. Fines against unpermitted sidewalk vendors will be $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second and $1,000 for each additional violation.

The permit fee and administrative fines aim to help pay for the enforcement of the new regulations, city officials said.

The ordinance is set to take effect 30 days from July 2. But before fees are imposed, the City Council is requiring that city staff conduct adequate outreach to ensure vendors are aware of the regulations, establish protocols for ensuring prevention of selective enforcement, and develop a hardship program for people struggling to afford the fines.