HUNTSVILLE, Ala – Friday marks the 7th day that the federal government has been in a partial shutdown. President Trump continues to advocate for border wall funding and it looks like all votes in Congress will be delayed till after the new year, which means the shutdown will last several more days.
The partial shutdown is having a ripple effect across North Alabama, affecting industries that have nothing to do with the government.
When WHNT news crews visited the West Side Grill restaurant around noon, we were expecting to see a lunch rush, but that didn’t happen Friday.
Instead, several tables were sitting empty.
Kevin Brakefield, one of the restaurant’s owners, says they see more empty chairs for lunch right after Christmas. “We’re typically slow for a few days because hardly anyone is at work.”
As for how they’ll be affected by the shutdown? He says it’s too early to tell.
“I mean with the defense department not being shut down… If it was a total shutdown it would definitely affect our business, but being a partial shutdown we just don’t know what kind of impact it’s going to have,” he said.
Even though the Department of Defense employees aren’t part of the shutdown, the arsenal is affected. Rockets are part of the West End Grill’s logo and nearly all NASA employees are being furloughed. Brakefield says 60% of their customers during their lunch rush come from the arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center
“It does have a ripple impact through the economy,” he said.
He says if business continues to be slow after the holidays his employees will begin to also be affected by the shutdown.
“When you think about service industry jobs, that’s a huge impact. I mean, these people depend on tips, our employees depend on tips and everything to make their living, and if the people aren’t here, they’re not getting tips. So, it affects their income as well,” he said.
He hopes Congress and the President can come to an agreement sooner rather than later.
NASA employees aren’t the only government workers feeling the effects of the shutdown. TSA employees at the airport are having to work without pay until the partial shutdown is over.