Local impact of government shutdown

PHILADELPHIA - October 1, 2013

186 of the park's 213 employees have been furloughed. A handful are staying on to secure the park and provide law enforcement.

Tourists traveling to Philadelphia are now denied access to more than a dozen buildings, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

People are still coming to see and take pictures of the bell, of course. They are just doing it from the outside looking in.

That includes Wang Wei who came all the way from China with her family to see the historic sites of Philadelphia.

"This is very bad luck," she said.

Despite her disappointment, Wei remains optimistic.

"Maybe later on our luck will change," she said, "and everything will be open in Washington, D.C. I hope so."

The Tuckers, who flew in from England, were not as hopeful.

"We're doing a tour of the Eastern Seaboard. We've been into Canada. This is our last stop today before we fly home," said Lynne Tucker.

So what's a tourist to do?

Richard Buehler of Coatesville, who was hosting his friend, Art Brown from Arkansas, said he is still not sure.

"Now we have to go to Plan B, which is just walk around and not go inside places," he said. "Walk around in circles and find a cheese steak later."

Other sites in historic Philadelphia, including those managed by the non-profit organization Historic Philadelphia, Inc., will remain open for business despite the federal government shutdown.

The Betsy Ross House, Franklin Square and the Historic Philadelphia Center are not affected.

Apart from national and local landmarks, mortgages for first-time home buyers and passports may be affected by the shutdown.

Social Security, Medicare and unemployment checks will continue to go out. The US Postal Service will still operate and so will federal courts.

Food stamps or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) will also continue, and yes, you still have to pay your taxes.

However some services that assist with food, like WIC for mothers and infants, have stopped. So have some Head Start programs.

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