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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


May 14, 2002 – Despite a flurry of media attention a couple of years ago about the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department's plans to make St. John mobile food vendors become restaurants if they were not actually able to move, most of those vendors are still in the same spots and still operating as vendors.
Licensing Commissioner Andrew Rutnik announced at a March 2000 meeting on St. John that mobile vendors would have six months to get truly mobile or to secure licenses as restaurants. He said this week that he has made progress on St. Thomas and has made changes with some mobile vendors that were stationary, but that St. John still has several businesses with mobile vendor licenses that remain put.
The program has taken a long time to get under way, he said. In the meantime, no new mobile food vendor licenses have been issued for St. John, he added, so the problem has not gotten any worse.
While restaurants are supposed to have bathrooms and running water, Rutnik said the Health Department has backed off on enforcing that provision. Health Department spokesman Lee Vanterpool said that any mobile vendor converting to a stationary restaurant will have to have running water and a bathroom. But he added, "I understand port-a-potties are allowed." After being queried by the Source about the situation, Vanterpool said the Health Department would send an inspector to St. John on Wednesday to check out mobile vendors that appear to be stationary restaurants.
Customers of the stationary mobile vendors apparently use the public restrooms in the Cruz Bay parking lot or whatever spot they can find after those facilities close in the early evening. The situation could partially resolve itself when Cruz Bay's combined vendors plaza and parking garage is built; it's scheduled to go up at the site of the public parking lot next to the Nature's Nook vegetable stand.
The businesses at that location — Denzil Clyne Car Rental, Nature's Nook, W&W Fast Food and Our Market — have been given notice that they must relocate to a vendor area at the old Motor Vehicle Bureau building near Enighed Pond.
W&W Fast Food, which Rutnik said has a restaurant license but no bathroom, is the only restaurant in the lot. Nature's Nook and Our Market both sell drinks, but Nature's Nook is primarily a produce stand. The displaced vendors will have a chance to apply for space in the new vendors plaza facility.

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