Local residents feel impact of shutdown

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Oct 02, 2013 - 01:28 PM

Photo: A simple paper sign taped to the door of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Gloucester notifies customers of that office’s closure due to the federal shutdown. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

A simple paper sign taped to the door of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Gloucester notifies customers of that office’s closure due to the federal shutdown. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Although the federal government doesn’t have a huge visible presence in Gloucester and Mathews counties, some services—and people—are already being affected by the U.S. Government shutdown that began Tuesday.

Locally, there are offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. On Tuesday, all of the offices except the Coast Guard Station at Milford Haven and USPS were closed, with signs on the doors and telephone messages attributing the closings to a "lapse in appropriations" and the resulting furlough of employees.

Not only that, but other than the Coast Guard, the websites of the agencies, like many other government websites, were generally inaccessible. Some government websites are still available for perusal, but they have messages saying they won’t be updated until the shutdown is over.

The U.S. Postal Service, which represents the federal government’s largest local presence, is operating normally both at facilities and online during the shutdown.

Lt. Paul Rhynard, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman in Washington, D.C., said that USCG Station Milford Haven and all Coast Guard stations will continue to respond to emergency calls for assistance as always and will continue to fulfill their homeland security duties.