Health and economic measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic- Effect on street vendors
Keywords:COVID-19, coronavirus, poverty, informal workers, human rights, economy
Introduction: COVID-19 pandemic affects human health and the global economy. Its evolution is unpredictable, making it hard for governments to provide response actions suited for all populations. Meanwhile, informal street workers carry on with their labor despite contingency measures to sustain their lives. The objective was to conduct a case-control study to become aware of how street vendors' economy is affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methodology: During phase 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic in a Mexican suburban city. We interviewed informal street vendors (cases) and formal employees (controls).
Results: Before mobility restrictions were in place, population income came 1.5% from formal employment and 23.5% from informal employment (street vendors). Informal employees lived on less than the equivalent of 1.5 Big Macs per day (p <0.001). After the contingency measures, formal employment kept the same, while the informal employment ratio increased to 57.4% (p < 0.001). The street vendors were almost 100-times less likely to be concerned about the coronavirus outbreak (p < 0.001) and were 38-times less likely to stop working compared with the formal workers (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: We have proven that street vendors are a sector of the population that is highly vulnerable to significant economic loss due to contingency measures. Informal workers cannot stop working despite the “Stay at Home” initiative because the government has not implemented strategies that guarantee their survival and their families. Therefore, street vendors continue to be a source of the virus's spread throughout cities.
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