The legalization of public drinking was top-of-mind for many in Vancouver in the wake of COVID-19 – but don’t be fooled. These “progressive” policies won’t be made available to everyone, especially not people who need an end to alcohol criminalization the most.

On November 13th, the City of Vancouver announced that it would launch a crackdown on illegal street vendors in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The City’s director of Social Policy, Mary Clare Zak, informed DTES community groups that “starting next week you will begin to see a larger City presence in the DTES, including VPD officers, as we continue our efforts in the area to ensure it is a safe place for everyone.” According to Zak the objective is to “support and facilitate the movement of street vendors from the [0-300] block of E. Hastings Street and surrounding area.”