Many key tourist attractions and national parks have had their regular operations disrupted due to the US government shutdown, which began on Saturday.
The federal government will stop paying staff for duties that are classed as “non-essential”, which affects many but not all tourist facilities in the country.
The partial government shutdown will not affect front-line staff in international and domestic aviation – air-traffic control, Customs & Border Protection and airport security in the US – as these are classed as essential workers and therefore will continue to report for duty and be paid as normal.
The Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service (NPS), has issued an “Important Shutdown Notice” to announce that the NPS is “conducting no park operations and providing no visitor services”.
The National Parks Conservation Association estimated that about a third of the more than 400 national park sites across the country are completely closed, reported the Los Angeles Times.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced that the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which was forced to close on Sunday due to the federal government shutdown, will be open for visitors on Monday, with New York state picking up the tab for federal workers.
In San Francisco, one of main destinations in the Bay Area, Alcatraz, is affected by the shutdown. Ferries are still running to take tourists to The Rock, and the island will stay open. However, rangers will not be available to give tours and tourists won’t be able to visit at night either.
Most American museums will not be affected as the vast majority are not fun by the federal government.
For visitors to the US, the ESTA system for online travel authorisation will continue to function as normal.