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Rachel Cooper

How Would a Government Shutdown Affect Washington DC Tourism?

By April 5, 2011

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If negotiations over the federal budget result in a government shutdown, many of Washington DC's most popular tourist attractions would be closed including the national landmarks on the National Mall. Since 1981, there have been five government shutdowns. The last one was in 1996. Robert Longley, About.com Guide to US Government Info, explains the history and effects of government shutdowns. Do you remember a past government shutdown? How did it affect you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

The shutdown will begin on Saturday, April 8, 2011 if no budget agreement is reached. DC would lose an estimated $1.5 - $5.5 million per week. Federal agencies would be closed and trash collection and parking enforcement would be suspended. Police, firefighters and emergency services would continue to operate and public schools will remain open.

Major DC attractions that would be open during a government shutdown include the following: Updates: As I keep getting updates, I will add them here, so check back for the latest information. The Washington Metro has announced that if there is a government shutdown, the Metro system would continue to operate on a normal schedule, but may make adjustments to the number of rail cars in service to match demand and conserve budget resources. They estimate that ridership would be reduced from 5 to 20 percent, depending upon the decisions made to continue some federal operations and essential services.

In case of a government shutdown, all programming occurring within the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, including evening and matinee performances of Liberty Smith would be canceled. History on Foot programming will continue as scheduled.

Good news! Just announced on Friday, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and the Japanese Street Festival, scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 9, will not be canceled. The DC Police have agreed to support these popular scheduled events. If there is a government shutdown, the Parade route will run along Constitution Avenue, NW from 7th to 14th Streets. Grandstand seats in sections 98 and above, with the exception of section 136, will no longer be along the Parade route. Tickets can be exchanged or refunded. The Blossom Kite Festival will likely be postponed in the event of a government shutdown.
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April 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm
(1) Dan says:

It would be unfortunate to have the tourist attractions closed due to a federal government shutdown. BUT, there is a higher and worthy goal here and that is to save this nation from a growing cancer called the overwhelming deficit. This deficit will kill the generations of the future. So if I lose a few days of not having access to our national attractions then so be it. Thank you

April 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm
(2) whalesnot says:

What an inappropriate place for a stupid Teapot head comment. You’re an idiot.

April 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm
(3) Debbie in Cali says:

My niece will be there next week from California for 8th grade trip. This would be a huge disappointment for her and all her classmates!!!

April 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm
(4) Debbie says:

If they have to shutdown, they should have done so after the school vacations, like in May. This is not only hurting our kids who were excited to go to Washington for the first time, but also for the parents who put so much money into this trip.

April 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm
(5) Rachel says:

If there is a shutdown, hopefully it won’t last long. I agree that it is unfair to close attractions during a holiday week when many people have planned a vacation and spent a lot of money to book flights and hotel rooms. There will still be things to do in Washington. What about people who planned trips to National Parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon?

April 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm
(6) caroline says:

Is it a coincidence that the shut down was delayed until peak tourist season? Both parties (Rep & Dem) are guilty here. The worst is saying that our military members will not get paid. Active duty! Those fighting in two never ending wars!!!

April 19, 2011 at 11:28 am
(7) Filby says:

Caroline, government shutdowns need not be total. The gov. can spend what it takes in, but it can stop funding unconstitutional government agencies. The military is constitutional, though the endless foreign wars it engages in are not. http://www.antiwar.com

Debbie, I agree, it would be a disappointment. But use the shutdown as a “teachable” moment for the kids. They’ll learn something far more valuable than they would from a visit to federally-run institutions.

whalesnot is a moron.

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