Food vendors getting ready for the eclipse influx — the crucial step is getting a permit

Vendors applying for permits to sell food for eclipse

Vendors applying for permits to sell food for eclipse

Thousands of people are expected to visit the Rochester area for the total solar eclipse on April 8. Local businesses are hoping to make some money on the tourists by keeping them fed and hydrated.

And if you’re planning on serving up food to out-of-towners, now is the time to get your permit.

Whether you’re an established business or just opening a pop-up stand for a day, you’ll need to apply for a Temporary Food Service Permit with Monroe County. It’s a process local food vendors say is an important part of making sure you are operating safely.

Sammies and Sweets owner Frank Vicaretti says April will be one of his busiest months ever.

“It’s amazing — back in the fall we started getting phone calls and we knew the eclipse was big from the standpoint of what it is, but didn’t realize how phenomenal it’s going to be,” Vicaretti said.

Setting up shop inside Spencerport Bowl on Thursday, Vicaretti says getting a permit to operate is the first thing anyone should do — no longer how long anyone plans on staying in business.

“I mean number one, it’s going to protect the customer because ultimately someone is going to be eating that food and you don’t want somebody to eat something, even it’s by accident, that wasn’t done properly,” Vicaretti said.

Which is why Monroe County Environmental Health Manager Starr O’Neil says it’s better to start the application process sooner rather than later.

“We have 26 different events that we know of at this point, but that’s — there can be any number of events or people just popping up on their sidewalk with the influx of so many people,” O’Neil said.

“We anticipate numerous ‘pop-up’ establishments will open to serve the large influx of visitors to our area,” Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health, said in a release from the county. “And, we expect a number of restaurants and food trucks will want to temporarily provide concessions that are not allowed under their existing permits. It is important to take action now so there are no last minute surprises that might keep them from doing business.”

Nearly half a million people are expected to visit the Rochester area for the eclipse on April 8. And even if you only plan on selling food the day of the eclipse, O’Neil says you’ll need to apply for a permit on the city’s website or by calling (585) 753-5064.

“It’s a complicated process. so some people need it and some people don’t. So if you’re not sure if you do, it’s better to call us and reach out so we can walk you through the process and let you know if you need that permit or not,” O’Neil said.

Depending on the type of concession you operate and the number of days you plan on being open, the permit will cost $55 to $115. A small fee for vendors like Vicaretti, who says he can’t wait for the big day to get here.

“It’s never happened before in my lifetime. But then when i started finding out that half a million to a million people from all over the world are coming here, and I even have some friends that are coming in from other states, you see the momentum that is growing. Everyone is getting more and more excited,” he said.

Click here for more information on how to access the permit application online.