WASHINGTON (ABC7) — The pandas and all the animals are behind bars Wednesday at the zoo. Gates closed Tuesday night and are not reopening to the public. All Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo are off limits because of the government shutdown.
“I just arrived here and see that the gates are closed... so I came for nothing and spent $9 on Metro for nothing also,” a zoo visitor says.
Nearly two weeks into the shutdown, funding has now expired and these facilities can no longer stay open. ABC7 News has spoken with tourist from Florida to Toronto who were left taking pictures from outside and shaking their heads.
“This is stupid, I don’t think shutdowns work... America is great and we’ve shutdown all the museums and a premiere attraction. It’s an abortion,” says Barbara Shultz, a Florida tourist.
Employees are still expected to work and care for all the animals even though they are not getting paid right now. And businesses nearby worry about their bottom line.
“This is very stressful for us...business owners and people in the city,” says Yael Krigman, owner of Baked by Yael.
As the Congress gavels in for the 116th session the early votes will be the usual ones, but the new majority must focus on the massive elephant in the room.
“When the zoo is closed they don’t come, it’s hard for us but i still honor my commitment to pay my staff... all of my expenses,” says Krigman.