COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City Council voted Monday to ordain an executive order for food carts in the Short North to shut down at midnight.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther issued the order last week in response to violence in the area.
On a typical Saturday in the Short North, food trucks line both sides of North High Street, but with this new curfew in place, that isn’t the case anymore.
Food truck owners said the curfew, which is in place through Memorial Day weekend, isn’t fair.
“A 12 o’clock shut down, which is basically the time that we open,” Adam Wallace, a mobile food vendor, said. “The general consensus is we are screwed at the moment.”
Wallace has been running a food cart in the Short North for the last six years, but he’s not sure what his future will look like.
“As far as food carts go, I’m losing about $8,000 a month,” he said. “That’s with just one cart, that is just gone.”
“As we ask folks to exit the Short North, one of the things that would help expedite that is having food vendors pull back,” Council President Shannon Hardin said. “We look forward to going back there because, in this city, you can also go out, have fun, be out at 2:30 a.m., and still be safe.”
The measure is a temporary solution to incidents of violence on back-to-back weekends in the popular neighborhood, but many in the community are wondering why the food carts are being seemingly targeted.
“There is no data that shows these vendors are the source and if there is, my question to council is why don’t you share with us what data you reviewed in order to make this decision,” said Kareem Alli, who has lived in the Short North for the last 22 years. “Effectively, we are shutting down their businesses.”
Hardin said the curfew is part of the overall response to crime in the area.
“We don’t believe they are the impetus of the violence, nor do we think they should be blamed for it,” he said.
Food cart owners also have similar concerns.
“We have a very large country that has food carts everywhere in big cities,” Wallace said. “You don’t see them saying food carts cause violence. Only here in Columbus do you hear them saying food carts cause violence.”
It’s something he hoped would be handled differently.
“None of the bars complied; they gave the governor a no,” Wallace said. “And we weren’t offered will you shut down? We weren’t asked that question, we were told you’re going to shut down.”
Council said it will revisit the restrictions sometime in the first week in June.