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Shutdown Means National Park Closures In South Florida

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(Source: www.nps.gov)
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – How will a government shutdown impact South Florida?

It will be limited and does not include post offices so critical services like mail won’t be affected.

A lot of people who receive government assistance like social security and unemployment also don’t have to worry.

“We may be on extended furlough so there’s concern about paying mortgage, taking care of your family like anybody else would,” said Linda Friar, the spokesperson for Everglades National Park.

She’s one of the more than 800,000 federal employees who might have to sit home and lose pay because of a congressional stalemate.

“We’re watching and hoping and waiting and hoping that Congress is going to make some sort of decision by midnight tonight (Monday). If not, we’ve been planning on how to implement an orderly shutdown,” said Friar.

The Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas Park in the Keys are just a pair of Florida’s 11 national sites that will close if Congress can’t agree on funding the budget. It means 243 employees at the two parks will be impacted.

James Sutton with the Florida National Parks Association said, “Tough, it’s tough. Our employees live paycheck to paycheck and any lost income is going to be totally devastating to them”.

Non-government employees aren’t immune from a shutdown.  Private businesses like boat rentals and bookstores that are contracted to provide services to national parks will have to close.

“We have 16 employees that operate nine stores similar to this one, that once they’re closed they will be furloughed,” said Sutton.

Locals hosting tourists said they’ve even switched up their plans to accommodate lawmakers’ bickering.

Charles Kenyon said, “Our original plan was to actually come tomorrow and, of course, obviously that changed.”

The gates to Everglades National Park will close by 6:00 p.m. Tuesday if there is a shutdown.  Critical personnel like police and fire rescue will still have to report to work.

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