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Post-COVID world prompts look at food truck operations

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Local food truck operators could be dealing with some changes in the days ahead.

Kevin Maevers, the city of Roswell Community Development manager, said the city is looking at regulations concerning mobile food businesses, which often are a big part of community events, as COVID-related restrictions are expected to lessen and more events are expected to occur.

“One of the things we are looking at is a return to normalcy with a lot of events and festivals and other things that are going to be coming up,” he said. “As we were talking about all these other events, I also realized that many of the permits we were going to be needing involved the NMDOT (New Mexico Department of Transportation), the county health department, environmental health and other things.”

To talk about upcoming issues, the city is holding an informational meeting for food truck operators and people interested in the industry for April 8. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Roswell Adult Center, 807 N. Missouri Ave.

Because it is not a meeting of elected officials, it will not be streamed live. Space inside the meeting room could be limited, but Maevers said that anyone interested in operating food trucks should attend to provide feedback to city personnel and to give their contact information so that they will receive updated information as it becomes available.

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New permitting and licensing procedures are expected to be discussed at the meeting, according to a city news release, along with fire safety rules.

“The thing that people need to remember is that a food truck — especially if they are doing a lot of cooking and there is a lot of oil and other things — you essentially have a rolling kitchen,” Maevers said. “We are bringing in the fire department to discuss safety protocols.”

Manon Arnett, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, District 2, said the agency is discussing the possibility of using a special events permit process to allow food trucks to continue to operate on Main Street, which is also U.S. 285, and falls under its jurisdiction along with Second Street, or U.S. 380 and U.S. 70.

Maevers said that plans are still fluid, but the city would like for “Food Truck Fridays” to continue until Labor Day as a “test run” of how the process might go.

About 15 to 16 food truck businesses are operating with licenses right now, he said, adding that the city would like to see the business sector expand.

He said that past, current and prospective food truck operators are encouraged to stay in contact with the Community Development Department and to come to the meeting.

“If they have any interest at all in food trucks, they are welcome to attend,” he said.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.