Open for business: Back to work ... gradually
National Zoo among federal establishments to reopen
Even before President Barack Obama signed into law a deal that officially ended the government shutdown, Yosemite National Park fired off a statement: We're open for business, right now.
The California attraction may get the award for the quickest reopening. But elsewhere, life will return to normal ... gradually.
Here's what to expect Thursday, and in the coming days:
You may have to wait a while. Yes, Yosemite wants you to come on by if you're in the neighborhood. But some of the more than 400 national parks shuttered since Oct. 1 will take longer to reopen. Park workers will have to pretty them up first since they weren't able to keep up the general maintenance until now. For some of the larger parks, the lack of upkeep could pose safety risks. So expect them to take longer.
Several national parks opened during the shutdown at the state's expense. Utah was the first, followed by several New York, including Liberty Island. Under the agreement worked out between the states and the Department of the Interior, Congress will have to approve repaying them in separate, specific legislation. The Senate's back in session Thursday; the House won't be for several days. So even if the money eventually does find its way back to the states, it'll be a while.
Your cubicle beckons
If you are not back to work already this morning, Mr. Federal Worker, you may want to call your boss and tell her you're on your way. Late Wednesday evening, the White House said all government employees should expect to return to work Thursday. So, if you work for the HHS, the CDC, the FDA, the USDA or any of the other federal alphabet soup, your boss will be looking for you.
Missing your panda fix?
The National Zoo in Washington opens its gates -- but not until Friday. And you know what that means? The return of the panda cam! But while you wait, you can check out the Smithsonian museums. All 19 of them reopen Thursday.
Crabbers rejoice (maybe not all at once)
One of the lesser publicized victims of the shutdown were the crab fishermen. You see, Alaskan crab fishing season started Tuesday. But some crabbers couldn't get the right permits because many federal fisheries services employees were furloughed. This made the crabbers a little crabby, said Captain Keith Colburn from the show "Deadliest Catch." It also could hurt their bottom line during the holidays, Colburn told CNN.
The good news: The permits may start flowing Thursday. The bad news: There may be such a tremendous backlog of requests that some crabbers still won't be able to work for a while.
The same issue could slow down the beer and wine industry as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau races to catch up on a backlog of labeling permit requests.
Let's science it up
There were signs that the once-shuttered NASA operations were coming back early Thursday.
After days of only carrying a solemn message about the shutdown, the Twitter feed for NASA's Goddard research laboratory launched a string of happy messages early Thursday morning. "We're back, Earth! #WelcomeBackNASA."
The tweets got the attention of maybe the coolest space traveler around, Capt. James T. Kirk.
"You are coming back! I'm all excited!" tweeted William Shatner, who will forever be associated with his role as the "Star Trek" captain.
But the message hadn't traveled to NASA's official website. Early Thursday, it was still not operational.
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