Have you heard the news? According to a Federal News Radio article published on Oct. 10, 2013, a special event is coming up and Americans are ready to celebrate! Oct. 14, 2013, is Columbus Day, an annual holiday that celebrates Christopher Columbus' arrival to the Americas. But while millions of Americans are looking forward to the long weekend, the United States government shutdown may wreak havoc on those holiday plans especially if you plan to travel.
United States Government Shutdown
Now in its second week, the shutdown is costing the economy an estimated $160 million a day. While thousands of government employees have been furloughed, many agencies and services have been impacted until the congressional stalemate can finally be resolved. Although the postal service continues to deliver mail and federal air traffic controllers are still on the job, the tourism industry is taking a great big hit.
All 401 national parks and some popular tourist attractions have been closed since Oct. 1, including the National Zoo, Smithsonian Museum, Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the Everglades National Parks. Over 20,000 National Park Service employees have been furloughed, without pay. The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees estimates that over 7 million visitors have been "turned away" thus far.
But there is a small glimmer of hope. According to NPR, some national parks in several states may reopen despite the shutdown. The Obama administration is looking into allowing states to use their own money to fully fund the park operations.
If you plan on taking a road trip to a national park or popular attraction this weekend, it's probably a good idea to call ahead or check the website before you leave.
When is Columbus Day?
While Columbus Day was initially observed on October 12, the observance was eventually moved. President Richard Nixon declared the second Monday in October a federal holiday in 1971.
- October 14, 2013
- October 13, 2014
- October 12, 2015
- October 10, 2016
- October 9, 2017