How street vendors’ economy is affected during the COVID-19 pandemic?


How street vendors’ economy is affected during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the entire world that World Health Organization (WHO) first declared a world health emergency in January, 2020; and on March 11 it announced the viral outbreak was officially a pandemic, the highest level of health emergency.SARS-CoV-2 infection has negatively affected global economic growth and human health beyond anything. The economic fallout from the pandemic eventuates in escalated level of poverty, career derailed, increase social unrest, high level of unemployment and lives upended.

Contingency measures diminish workforce across all economic sectors which led to cause many people lost their jobs. Government agreed to close off their frontiers in order to mitigate the spread of this viral pathogen and protecting the health system from collapse. According to McKibbin and Fernando (2020) “the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is rapid and unpredictable, its impact on economy is quite uncertain that makes it difficult for policymakers to formulate appropriate macroeconomic policy responses”.

A government is not taking the economic hardships of the street vendors into account which is a vulnerable sector that is given their level of poverty and economic dynamics. In Latin American cities, street vendors belong to known as informal economy,places them outside the regulations regarding the use or occupation of public areas and roadways as workplaces. Their commercial activities and services do not demand tax records or regulatory controls, nor any social protection service.

The needs of street vendors is undefined and there is no basis to describe its social and economic dynamics, turning street vendors into a segregated sector from the rest of the population with no guarantee of respect for their human rights, such as food, work, and health. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly decreases the families’ net income of street vendors which make it hard for them to sustain their lives.

Romero-Michel et al. (2020) conducted a case-control study that is published in The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries in order to become aware of how street vendors’ economy is affected and understand their behavior regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, comparing them with employees working in the economy’s formal sector.This case control study was conducted in a Colima and Villa de Alvarez in Western Mexican suburban city during second wave of COVID-19 between 30 March and 2 April, 2020. Informal street vendors (cases) and formal employees (controls) were interviewed.

To sum things up, this case study proved that contingency measures eventually led to cause significant economic loss to street vendors. Street vendors are informal workers and government has not strategies that guarantee their survival and their families and they cannot stop working despite the “Stay at Home” initiative. In order to sustain their lives they have to work on daily basis which continue to be a source of virus spread.


COVID-19; economic measures; street vendors; poverty; informal workers; economy.