Government Shutdown 2011: An hour-by-hour guide
A government shutdown is no longer in the realm of the hypothetical - time is ticking down for Congress to reach some kind of funding agreement. It's now a matter of hours.
The deadline is tonight at midnight. If an accord isn't reached by that time, lots of activities and events in the region will undergo a deep freeze.
Here's your timeline for the potential upcoming shutdown.
Saturday, 12:01 a.m.: At this point, the government is shut down. Officially. No funding, no government. What's that mean to your job? If you're a non-excepted federal employee, or your position is deemed 'non-essential', you're one of about 800,000 that will likely be furloughed.
Beyond that, as many as 14,000 of D.C.'s 35,000 city workers will be forced off the job as well.
Congress says that decisions on furloughs will be made during a shutdown, so don't be surprised if the shutdown actually comes and your status for work on Monday is still up in the air. You'll find out in due time.
Public safety agencies will continue to operate. The D.C. Police Department will continue to operate, as will the D.C. Fire & EMS.
Hospitals, including the Washington Hospital Center and St. Elizabeths, will continue to operate.
Saturday, 8:15 a.m.: Imagine this - you're a young driver in Washington, and you've been eagerly waiting to take the driver's test. In fact, you've planned for weeks to be first in line when the DMV opens to take your exam. It's not going to happen. The District's DMV offices will all be closed.
Saturday, 8:50 a.m.: Check those tickets on your guided U.S. Capitol tour. Tours usually start at this time, but forget it, you're not going. All guided tours on Capitol Hill will be canceled. Fear not, though, if your docent is a member of Congress! You can still go on your jaunt around the Capitol.
Saturday, 9 a.m.: We hope you got your library books back in on time. Also, we hope you've already gotten your hands on some good reading material (especially if you're one of the mentioned furloughed workers). The District's 25 libraries, scheduled to open at either 9 or 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, will remain closed.
Did you know that April 9 is the State Department's "Passport Day in the USA"? How ironic, since passport offices will be closed during a shutdown and passports will only be processed in an emergency.
While other museums in town will be closed, as you will find out in just about one hour, the International Spy Museum will be open for business, as will other non-Smithsonian museums that operate on weekends.
Saturday, 10 a.m.: Tourists from around the country and the world flock to D.C. to visit the Smithsonian Institution and its litany of museums and galleries. No dice, though. The doors will remain locked when most of them are scheduled to open for the day. This includes the National Zoo.
This is also the time that the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is scheduled to start. The parade will still go on, but if the shutdown occurs, the route will be almost halved, ending at 14th Street NW rather than 17th Street because the three blocks on the route past 14th are on federal land.
If you had your heart set on checking out the original Constitution and other historic documents at the National Archives, you wont be able to. The building will be closed.
If you're expecting a birthday card, paycheck, love letter or magazine, you're in luck. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver throughout a government shutdown.
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