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For street vendors, social distancing is not an option

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Despite orders to stay at home, two street vendors earn their living on avenidas Jacinto Canek and Itzáes. Photo: La Jornada Maya

Merida, Yucatan — For some people, staying home and quarantining is not an option.

José Maldonado Dzib and Michelle Ruiz Rodríguez, two street vendors who earn their livings on the corner of avenidas Jacinto Canek and Itzáes, are among them.

Maldonado Dzib, who sells bags of limes and oranges, commented that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business has decreased by 80%. From an average of 40 bags a day, he sells maybe 13.

As a precaution, he said he is constantly washing his hands and uses antibacterial gel. But he’s in close contact with everyone he sells to, and he fears that he may be risking the health of his family.

Another problem is that citrus has tripled in price. Limes rose from 10 to 30 pesos per kilo, and his margin on each bag sold is down to 5 pesos, or around 21 cents.

Michelle Ruiz, who is pregnant and earns 120 pesos a day selling fresh juices, asked the public not to demonize those who have to work on the sidewalks. She works out of necessity and not for pleasure, she told a reporter for La Jornada Maya.

Like José Maldonado, he also complies with preventive measures, such as the use of masks and antibacterial gel.

She also said that governments should give support to those who engage in under-the-table trade, so that they do not have to go out on the streets and expose themselves to possible contagion.

Both vendors have permission to sell during limited hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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