With no deal struck last night the US government is currently operating in a “shutdown” state. The good(ish) news is that it isn’t really shut down. There are still a massive number of people working to keep critical systems operating.
Federally employed air traffic controllers are now working without pay. If we were *actually* shut down, a closed national airspace system would mean: no business/leisure travel, no FedEx/UPS cargo, no Amazon Prime, no Priority Mail…and that's just the start of it. https://t.co/o78fkjkxay
— ✈ light ☁ chop 🌞 reporter ✈ (@rustysunshine) January 20, 2018
For most travelers the impact will be minimal. Air traffic control is operating. So are border services and the TSA. They’re not currently being paid for that work; eventually they (almost certainly) will, but it still sucks.
Due to the lapse in government funding, we will not be actively using this account until further notice. For more information on available government services, please visit https://t.co/fr9FRGfkJr. Accidents still can be reported to the Response Operations Center at 202-314-6290
— NTSB (@NTSB) January 20, 2018
The NTSB’s critical operations are running but the group cannot tell anyone about its efforts because the communications team is considered non-essential.
The State Department appears to still be providing passport and visa services, though exactly to what level remains unclear.
At this time, scheduled passport and visa services in the United States and at our posts overseas will continue during the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits.
This is better news than expected, especially if a traveler requires an emergency passport replacement overseas. At the same time, State is not accepting new passport applications at the DC Travel Show this weekend as previously planned so who knows what the pace of that processing really is. And once things start up again assume a backlog will need to be cleared.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) January 20, 2018
Other consular services will be extremely limited or non-existent. For US citizens overseas this is a particularly bad time to find yourself in trouble.
National Parks might be open but without any staff on hand. For some locations that’s not a huge deal. For others it is a far more risky proposition. Now is probably not a great time to head off-trail into the back country for exploration.
And, at least for this weekend, the Smithsonian and National Zoo in Washington, DC are supposed to be open. They’ll close on Monday, assuming Congress hasn’t bothered to fix its mess by then.
Seeing longer lines? Did the shutdown affect your travels? Let me know!
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