Millions of small business owners across the country faced a lot of challenges. As the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country’s economy. And consumers stayed home to slow down the spread of the virus.
Many small businesses and local vendors suffered due to this coronavirus pandemic. Those who survived had to plan and use several practices to drive revenue. Generate new opportunities as the economy recovers. But the impact of the virus on millions of employees nationally is still uncertain. This pandemic forced the local vendors to think about their operations in a more critical, in-depth way.
The present pandemic has devastated the livelihoods of street vendors. Disrupting their ability to do their jobs and leaving many in a fight for their utter survival. Street vendors whose livelihoods rely on being in public spaces have been particularly hard hit. In several countries, including India, the ban on street vendors has left them out of work or unable to trade. Many street vendors expressed fears over their inability to feed their families during the lockdown, leaving many fighting starvations next.
Present scenario of local vendors
The issue of hunger would not be faced alone by local vendors. But the low-income households rely on street vendors for their food supply. Now have to pay more to access food. This has caused widespread impacts. This pandemic has supposedly doubled the number of people suffering from acute hunger. This could create a global recession that could disrupt food supply chains. And add to the misery and struggle of people working in the informal economy.
Some media coverage accuses these informal food vendors of being vectors of the infection. That only adds to the burden of an already vulnerable group of workers putting themselves at risk to earn a living. Such reports tend to overlook the role of state governments. In ensuring they manage and reduce these workers’ occupational health and safety risk. As they keep food supply chains running. Migrant workers and vendors, too, were left vulnerable.
Even where vendors are allowed to operate. Many state governments have resorted to punitive measures against street vendors during the pandemic, such as relocations, evictions, vending bans, and police fines.
Impacts due to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have left the cities streets. Thereby not only of its infamous traffic but also thousands of livelihoods. Street vendors constantly in a battle for identity are faced with a bigger fight for livelihoods. A large number of them are sitting jobless. While the lockdown has allowed for essential items to be delivered, including vegetables-supply chains have still taken a hit. For instance, various reasons and vendors don’t see a steady supply of produce.
To make matters worse, wholesale markets have been closed. Due to social distancing fears, which means they cannot go and buy in bulk either. Similarly, with the supply dwindling, prices across the country have risen in the past month. Moreover making it even harder for vendors as customers are thrown off. Online services like Bigbasket and Grofers have meant people preferring. To buy vegetables rather than risk going out in the middle of the pandemic. In my opinion, we must quit panic buying toilet paper and start panic buying stuff from the local stores. While the government gave to pay cab and auto drivers, washermen, and barbers, street vendors have been ignored.
If Zomato, Swiggy, Pizza Hut, and Dominos are being allowed to go about their businesses. Then why are street vendors being deprived? The setback caused by the pandemic will plunge the country’s struggling rural economy, according to farm economists, that supports nearly half its population into further distress. The supply chain has been badly hit- buses and train services have been suspended. And trucks face hurdles in moving across state borders due to strict checks.
We, as responsible citizens, can create awareness. For instance, by sharing awareness, street vendors on social media and pass on their recommendations to our friends. Small gestures like getting in touch with NGOs. Raising the required funds shall go a long way for the vendors. We must choose street food from local vendors over junk food from fast-food chains. Provisions must be made to order street food from food delivery apps.
We hope you liked our blog “LOCAL VENDORS Struggle Lot To Survive Through The Pandemic.”Stay tuned with Blogger Bunny for more such blogs. Also, visit our other blog, The Plight of Indian Farmers.