The government shutdown has disrupted the daily routines of nearly 1 million federal workers and contractors. Tourists visiting the nation’s capital this week are looking for things to do after national parks and museums were forced to lock their gates and doors. Some furloughed workers are making the best of a bad situation: many are patronizing local watering holes, according to Chris Moody, political reporter at Yahoo News, who witnessed the festivities firsthand Monday night.
“The bars were hopping and absolutely packed,” he tells The Daily Ticker. “Tuesday nights are pretty quiet here in Washington. The line to the bar was four rows deep.”
Local bars and restaurants are giving “shutdown specials” for workers who suddenly have a lot more free time on their hands. Moody found a pub that offered a Pork Barrel BBQ deal: "Free pulled pork sandwich for any government employee if there is a shutdown. 1 per day, must have government ID & EXCLUDES CONGRESSMEN."
Privately-owned museums are also seeing a bump in business now that tourists are barred from popular DC attractions like the Smithsonian museums, National Zoo and the Lincoln Memorial. Moody says Madame Tussauds is offering a $4 discount on tickets for individuals whose itinerary was affected by the shutdown; the National Geographic Museum is “open and offering free admission”; government employees can enjoy The National Museum of Women in the Arts at no cost if they show their government ID and an employee at the International Spy Museum told Moody that the museum experienced a “big uptick in numbers."
Nearly 18 million people traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2011 and it was the seventh-most visited U.S. city that year, behind New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
The government shutdown may offer a “tiny short boost to some private businesses, but in the long run it's negative for the economy, even for local businesses here in the District,” notes Moody. “Let’s not sugarcoat [the shutdown]. It’s a very serious thing.”
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