Friday, April 8, 2011

But the Cherry Blossoms will Still Bloom

America is in the midst of a potential government shutdown, and while most of us will be able to go on living our lives, many will be seriously affected by this if it should happen. Those in Washington D.C. will be hit the hardest, especially in the tourism industry.

In case you were not aware, if a government shutdown were to happen, a number of places will be forced to close, too. These include:
  • National Parks
  • Smithsonian Museums
  • The National Zoo
  • Public Libraries
  • DC Trash collection will be suspended
  • DC Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Street sweeping and pothole services will stop
  • Most federal government offices
  • IRS paper claims filings will not be processed/audits will be suspended
There are many other facilities that will have to close, and many people will not receive pay or get their tax redunds.

Bottom line....it's not a good thing.

Cherry Blossoms. Credit: USA Today
However, I did receive some good news today despite all the horrible news stories I have been reading: The Cherry Blossom Parade in DC will be held. Many--including myself--feared that the event would be canceled since it is run by the National Park Service, and part of the parade runs along Constitution Avenue, which is also under their jurisdiction. Luckily, festival orginizers have a plan just in case their is a shutdown. The parade route will be altered to avoid the area in Park Service territory.

The festival draws about 100,000 spectators during one of the busiest times for tourism in the city, so of course organizers were going to take every possible step to make sure it would not be cancelled. Even with many museums, monuments and attractions closed over the weekend with a shutdonw, the local tourism bureau is encouraging people to still visit. Some of the smaller, private museums will still be operating, and even offering discounts on admission.

Plus, there are numerous restaurants around the city preparing "shutdown deals," offering everything from discounted meals, free cups of coffee and free burgers. Clearly, businesses are trying to make the best of the situation.

Because even if our government cannot figure out a way to function, we can still see the cherry trees blossom.

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