Local furloughed workers await back pay as Uncle Sam opens shop

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) — Tourists were back at Petersburg National Battlefield Thursday, less than 24 hours after the federal government partial shutdown ended.

Congress passed a compromise bill late Wednesday that funded the government through January 15 and raised America’s debt ceiling until mid February.

Standard and Poor’s estimate the shutdown cost the U.S. economy 24 billion dollars.

But just because the shutdown is over, it doesn’t mean the economy has immediately rebounded.

Petersburg National Battlefield Superintendent Lewis Rogers was back at his post Thursday and described the last sixteen days as “difficult.”

“I think it has been particullary stressful, particually for the lower grade workers who are just starting outĀ  in the park service,” Rogers said.

Rogers says he, as well as his employees, have been living off half of a paycheck for over a week and does not anticipate receiving his back pay or his next full pay check for several more days.

“I’ve kind of always been the kind of person to not live from one paycheck to the next,” Rogers said.

While Rogers has saved for times like these, many furloughed employees have not and Rosa’s Italian Pizzeria in Hopewell say they have been impacted negatively by the shutdown.

After all, if furloughed employees are not at work or have not received their fullĀ  paycheck, they can’t spend money at their restaurant.

Ann Buttenbusch, a manager at Rosa’s says about 40 percent of her customers are federal employees and because of the decline in business employees hours have been cut back.

“We had to cut back on our staff a little bit to accommodate what wasn’t coming in,” Buttenbusch said.

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