More than 7,000 workers in Central Florida will be staying home today — and maybe much longer — due to the first shutdown of the federal government in 17 years.
Most work for NASA or the defense industry, but many more fill jobs considered “non-essential” for federal agencies ranging from education to transportation.
Average Floridians can expect an impact, too. National parks will be closed, and many federal services will be slowed or stopped. Social Security cards won’t be replaced during a shutdown, for example — although Social Security recipients would still get their checks. Federal housing and student-loan applications will be accepted — but processing may be delayed.
Obtaining a passport will be hit-or-miss; passport offices located in government buildings closed by the shutdown won’t open, though others in non-federal buildings will still process applications. Air and rail traffic will continue to move normally.
In general, the effect is expected to be minimal if the shutdown lasts only a few days. But an extended closure could cause major headaches, including the significant delay of a NASA mission to Mars.