Nevada law hopes to address licensing inequities for food carts

Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 4:09 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For the past three years Daddy’s Tacos has been part of the northern Nevada food truck scene.

The owners took on the business during COVID after their former jobs became dangerous or just unfulfilling.

What they didn’t know, the hoops they would need to jump through to just get their truck on the road and set up for service.

“They will come in and check the water make sure stuff is cold, hot, everyone is washing their hands everything is organized,” says Valentine Lovelace, Co-owner of Daddy’s Tacos. And that’s just the health district.

Then there are the hours of operation. That’s regulated by a city business license.

“We can only operate four hours at a time in one given location,” says Lovelace. What may not be well-known, non-motorized food carts fall under different regulations than food trucks.

They still need to get a license by the health district.

But city ordinances are not uniform.

Here in the city of Reno vendors must undergo a background check and their license is considered privileged. They are allowed in neighborhoods, and they cannot move to various locations.

But a new state law could change that. Senate Bill 92 requires municipalities throughout the state to have at least a baseline for these food vendors.

For the city of Reno, it may or may not mean big changes.

“It could be loosening or tightening any of the requirements to become a street vendor or where they could operate,” says Lance Ferrato, Director of the Reno Business Licenses Division. “Or to tightening down for the same exact reasons.”

The health district regulations are not altered under the new law.

Rather the law targets city or county business licenses as they apply to food cart vendors.

Wednesday, Ferrato will present the new law to city council members and look for direction from them as to what changes they would like to see, and what should stay in place to come into compliance with the new state law.

Ferrato says public hearings will take place, but he expects the city to meet state law requirements well before the January 2024 deadline.