ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – We all need masks these days and you can buy them just about anywhere. There are even vendors now hawking masks and hand sanitizer along the side of the road. Are people buying from them and can you trust their product? Vendors are supposed to have permits from the city to sell items, but some people are skeptical about these sales.
At the corner of Lomas and San Mateo in Albuquerque, there’s a street vendor capitalizing on the pandemic. “This one has an air resistance, this one is more breathable,” said Adan Morales, the street vendor showing one of the masks for sale.
This is one of a couple of pop up shops around town selling things like hand sanitizer and masks. “Hand sanitizer is 70 dollars per the gallon,” said Morales. “If you think about it, you’re gonna want more and you’re gonna buy those three-dollar containers, it’s going to come out more than 100 dollars.”
These prices almost match what some local stores sell their masks for and the gallon of hand sanitizer matches some online marketplaces. They appear to be from a legitimate generic manufacturer of masks and they come sealed the way you’d expect. Even so, these street vendors have caught the mayor’s attention.
“I think for now we’re going to have a soft touch and see what’s going on but there’s also the false advertising challenge so it is something we’re gonna work on over Memorial Day weekend,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. The city says people are allowed to sell items no matter the quality as long as they have a vendor’s permit from the city.
“Just trying to inspire the people and keep them safe,” said Morales. “I know it’s kind of like a business but it’s also trying to help the people.”
Would you buy PPE items from a street vendor? “Not from somebody’s car but maybe a medical truck or something I can trust like they were wrapped in plastic, yeah I probably would but as a general rule no not at all,” said one Albuquerque resident.
“I think I would make rounds from all other stores before I would consider buying from them if there was nowhere else to go,” said local Mark Sanchez.
Morales, when asked about his stand-alone shop, claims he didn’t know who he was working for and claims that the business owner has a vendors permit. Mayor Keller said he’s noticed a couple of similar pop-up shops around town and will start having enforcement check out those places to make sure vendors have permits from the city.