NBC10 - Jesse Gary
The federal government shutdown isn't only closing famous Philly sites like the Liberty Bell and Independece Hall but also hitting area businesses hard. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports.
For the first time in nearly two decades, the federal government has shut down leaving citizens wondering how the closure might affect them.
The answer really depends -- for some, it will have a major impact, while others will experience no change at all.
Mail, military and security services will all continue operating normally. However, paychecks to government employees in those jobs could be withheld and about half of the Department of Defense's civil workforce have been told to stay home.
All told, about 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed.
Here are a few ways your life could be changed during this shut down:
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND NATIONAL PARKS
The shutdown will most severely impact federally-run museums and historical sites in and around Philadelphia.
Tours of Independence Hall have stopped and the doors to the Liberty Bell Center have been locked. The visitor's center at Independence Mall will also be closed. Up in Valley Forge, the gates to Valley Forge National Historical Park will remain locked.
Since they are not funded by the federal government, the National Constitution Center, Betsy Ross House, Franklin Square and other parts of Historic Philadelphia are open.
However, with some of the historical sites closed, nearby stores and restaurants that depend on the tourist traffic could suffer greatly.
PASSPORTS AND TRAVEL
The State Department will continue to process passport applications and foreign visas, but officials say there could be delays. Fees collected with the applications pay for their processing. The Philadelphia Passport Agency, the region's only location, could close and stop offering passport books on-site.
Operations at Philadelphia International Airport, like TSA-screening, would continue without issue.
FEDERAL COURTS AND PRISONS
The United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will continue to operate for at least 10 business days. A prolonged shutdown would eventually result in furloughs for non-essential employees, but cases would still be heard.
Federal prisons will remain open and operational.
Many low-to-moderate incomes borrowers and first-time home buyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays during the shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, wouldn't underwrite or approve any new loans during the shutdown. Action on government-backed loans to small businesses would be suspended.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. The program provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children.
School lunches and breakfasts would continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.
A small number of Head Start programs, about 20 out of 1,600 nationally, would feel the impact right away. The federal Administration for Children and Families says grants expiring about Oct. 1 would not be renewed. Over time more programs would be affected. Several of the Head Start programs that would immediately feel the pinch are in Florida. It's unclear if they would continue serving children.