Senate Bill 972 went into effect Jan. 1 and completely decriminalized sidewalk food vending in California.
Since the California Retail Food Code was amended in 2018, food vendors could not be prohibited in California, but cities could issue criminal citations to vendors that did not have the required health permits. As of this year, cities may issue only administrative fines.
The fine amounts are limited, but the limits go up per offense for subsequent citations within a year of the first. Hearing officers must take the vendor’s ability to pay the fine into consideration when assessing the amount for a first offense. The fine for a second offense may be as