Open for Business: Gateway Arch, Old Courthouse reopen after shutdown

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(KTVI) - The National Park Service has confirmed that the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse will reopen during normal hours today, now that the federal government has returned to full operation today.

FOX2 / News 11 confirmed this with Chief Ranger Jim Jackson.

An online memo from the Rhea Suh, an assistant secretary with the U.S. Department of the Interior, outlined instructions for employees as they returned to work today.  The Department operates the Park Service which staffs the Arch and Old Courthouse.

This came after furloughed workers, many of them members of the American Federation of Government Employees went on with a planned protest on the Archgrounds.  They picketed Wednesday afternoon, even after hearing that Congress was close to striking a deal that would put them back to work.

“It’s not a vacation,” said USDA employee Erick Castellanos.  “I’m stressed about the bills.  I’m stressed about a lot of things, so it’s hard.”

“After 33 years of working,” said Laurence Mullen.  He was also furloughed from USDA.  “I’ve gotten used to getting up and going to work."

Those who called the Gateway Arch on Thursday morning heard the same “out-of-office” message that has played since the shutdown on October 1, 2013.  Spokeswoman Ann Honious stated on her voicemail that she was not even allowed to check messages until the shutdown ended.

I spoke with a Park Service dispatcher.  He said all employees will have these messages until they get a chance to get back to their offices and change their voicemail greetings for the first time in over two weeks.


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