Politics
9:21 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Tourists, Workers Turned Away As U.S. Shutdown Hits South Florida

Eduardo Echeverria, a federal law enforcement ranger at Everglades National Park, closes the main gate on October 1 because of the government shutdown.
Eduardo Echeverria, a federal law enforcement ranger at Everglades National Park, closes the main gate on October 1 because of the government shutdown.
Credit MARICE COHN BAND / Miami Herald Staff

“Closed” signs went up at national parks, and federal employees went home across South Florida on Tuesday as the federal government limped its way through the first day of a shutdown.

With a funding bill stalled in Congress, the national debate over a potential shutdown shifted to local consequences around the region. Managers of federal offices dispatched workers to unpaid furloughs while asking those deemed essential to remain at their posts without pay. Lawyers fielded calls from clients suddenly unable to use the government’s e-verify system to check employees’ immigration status. And national parks, home of the U.S. government’s largest local footprint, began the process of turning away the public.

“There’s lots of barricades,” said Linda Friar, a spokeswoman for the Everglades National Park, which attracts about 1 million tourists a year. “There are no buildings open, no facilities open, no restrooms.”

The first government shutdown in 17 years took hold Tuesday in ways large and small.

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