ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The pain caused by the shutdown of the federal government is already being felt in St. Louis with more discomfort to come. Thousands of folks are being furloughed without pay, businesses that rely on the feds fear they will be hurt, and tourists are angry.
At the Federal Center in north St. Louis, employees protested the government shutdown. Union leaders estimate most of the 2,000 to 3,000 employees got furlough notices and won’t be paid.
There were lots of frustration at the Gateway Arch, it was closed. Phillip Crowson came to visit it, he’s from Colorado. Crowson said, “It is very disappointing to see the Arch is shut down. We we’re looking forward to going and taking a ride to the top.”
Four million people visit the federal park on the riverfront every year. Now those visitors from across the country and around the world were greeted by a “closed” sign.
“I would have really liked to be able to see go inside and go up above,” said Donald Smart from Indiana.
Nearby on Laclede’s Landing, business owners were worried. Bars, restaurants and shops think the arch closing will cost them as much as a 20 percent drop in business. John Clark is with Laclede’s Landing, “Business has been the way it’s been the last few years and they started feeling things coming back and now all of a sudden a slap in the face with this.”
The folks at the St. Louis carriage company are also upset. Many of the Arch visitors take carriage rides. Sharon Burnett said they will be hurt with the national park closing down. “Probably 25 to 30 percent of our income is right that area," she stated.
People are angry with the folks in Washington. Phillip Crowson added, “It’s unfair to the citizens of this great nation and it’s unfair we have to experience these type of hardships because they can’t get their acts together and agree on something.”