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Los Angeles Times+ Your Authors @latimes Bringing L.A. to the world and the world to L.A. Subscribe now: Jul. 02, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

L.A. is a city of street vendors. As valuable and ubiquitous as they are, street vendors are also one of the most vulnerable populations in the food community. COVID-19 hasn't helped. This is the story of Mauro Rios Parra, a paletero 

Being a paletero is hard enough in normal times. But during the pandemic, with parks and schools closed and people afraid to leave their homes, much of his clientele has vanished. “Sales plummeted,” Rios said 

Rios usually makes $180 to $250 in daily earnings. That has dropped to $120 or less. But Rios doesn’t fear the virus. “Only God knows what he does with us and what will and won’t happen to us,” he says. “All we can do is take care and protect ourselves.” 

It's hard work pushing the ice cream cart for miles, but Rios doesn't mind. His plan is to return to his native Oaxaca in two years. He wants to have a garden and a chicken coop. He won’t be a paletero anymore. But he will be with his family. 

Story by @DoranyPineda90 

Photos by @dania_maxwell

You can follow @latimes.


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