Coney Island businesses concerned over illegal vendors, homeless loitering
Many business owners on Coney Island say they are worried illegal vending and homeless people loitering could cast an even darker cloud on the profits they're able to make during the pandemic.
Business owners say there has been a lack of illegal vendor enforcement. Police say that is because of budget cuts and shifting of resources, which essentially took away illegal vending policing on the Coney Island beach and boardwalk.
Business owners say that without enforcement they've been complying with social distancing, limiting their customer crowds and trying to keep their prices fair while still paying rent. But illegal vendors are not held to those same standards.
Some also say that without policing there has been an uptick in people who are homeless loitering around small mom and pop stores, which they fear could drive away even more customers and cause safety concerns.
The Department of Homeless Services said that six people had been taken into housing from the area this summer, but that its teams are still engaging 15 people who are either homeless or suspected to be homeless.