An ordinance banning ice cream vendors from the city will go into effect Aug. 16 as planned in spite of pleas to the City Council Tuesday by vendors to have it delayed or rescinded.
"Drop this ordinance. Or give us more time. We are just trying to make a living. We are not doing anything dangerous, illegal or unhealthy," said Rafael Gallegos, manager of Manhattan Fruit Bars.
Gallegos presented a petition to the council that he claimed contained 1,000 signatures from "people and kids" protesting the ban.
"It is a little late to start talking about it now. There's nothing that can be done," Mayor John Byork said.
However, councilmen James Rowe and E. L. Morris offered vendors some hope, suggesting more study might be appropriate.
On July 16, the council passed the ordinance by a unanimous vote prohibiting all types of vending, peddling and selling or soliciting on public streets, sidewalks, parks and other public properties. Food catering trucks, however, are allowed to continue selling as long as they are on private property.
The new regulation affects 69 ice cream trucks and ice cream pushcarts, 13 peddlers and sellers of fruits and vegetables and 16 lunch trucks, according to city records.
Violation of the ordinance will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and imprisonment of six months.
Council members give a variety of reasons for the ban, saying that they have received several complaints from citizens that the trucks created safety hazards for children dashing into the streets and that ice cream carts caused congestion on the sidewalks.
Councilman Robert Henning said he was concerned with possible health problems and insurance liability.
"If a child gets sick from your produce, the parent cannot find you. They won't know where to find you (pushcarts). When the products are bought in the stores, parents know who to sue," Hennings said.