It’s a problem that’s common to men and women who drive trucks, make deliveries or work outdoors — When do you go to the bathroom? Well, a law recently passed in New York City gives street vendors an easy answer: Never. Just ask Mohammed Shirajul Islam, a 10-year veteran of the business who is now without a permit because he dared to answer nature’s call.
According to a new regulation from the city’s Department of Health, vendors are prohibited “from leaving mobile vending food units unattended whenever food is maintained on the unit, as a matter of public safety, and food defense; the food must be secured and not in reach of the public.”
So last week, when Mohammed took a quick break to use the facilities at a local store, he returned to find his cart permit-less.
“When got back to my cart, the permit had been scratched away,” he explains. “Now I have to wait until they give me a new permit, and that could take a month. I can’t sleep. Street vending is how I provide for my family.”
While a DOH rep pointed out that Mohammed could always hire a second person to help him run the cart (because that’s financially feasible, right?), Ali Issa, director of organizing at the Street Vendor Project, called the DOH’s policy cruel.
“Vendors already have a hard time finding appropriate bathroom facilities during their long hours on the street,” said Issa in a statement. “This will just make things worse.”
Peanut Vendor Loses Permit for Using Bathroom [Gothamist]