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California Allows Food Trucks to Sell at Rest Areas Statewide During Coronavirus

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Caltrans is opening up its offer from now through June 15 (with approval of course)

A worker stands with a face mask on in front of a black food truck.
A food truck worker
Matthew Kang
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

The California Department of Transportation, better known as Caltrans, has approved public rest areas statewide for use as food truck vending lots. The move is meant to help provide warm meals for necessary travelers, particularly truck drivers crisscrossing the state, while also offering a new way for impacted food vendors to make some much-needed money, says Fox LA.

California executive order N-52-20, signed by governor Gavin Newsom, says that “Caltrans is authorized to develop and implement a process to issue and administer temporary permits allowing commercially licensed food truck vendors... to operate and sell food in designated safety roadside rest areas.” The easing of the restriction on commercial vending will last for 60 days, meaning vendors would only be allowed to sell through June 15. Any food truck vendors must also be in compliance with local and regional laws already in order to vend at specific rest stops.

Los Angeles proper does not have its own freeway rest stops, though several exist in surrounding counties like Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern, and Santa Barbara. Rest areas are particularly important in more rural California counties, where truckers and other drivers rely on them more heavily for basics like food and bathrooms. Anyone interested in applying for a rest area vending permit can do so at the Caltrans website.