Days are turning into weeks and the United States Government is still on lockdown. Federal workers are unable to get their pay slips and agencies are losing money. The Smithsonian Institution is one of the many agencies feeling the heat of the shutdown. Right now, 19 of Smithsonian’s museums are not accessible and this has affected its employees and bottom line.
Due to the government shutdown, Smithsonian is losing about $1 million dollars weekly according to David J. Skorton, the secretary. During an interview with the USA today on Tuesday, Skorton said:
“The closure of shops, restaurants, IMAX theaters and many other operations is costing Smithsonian about $1 million weekly. The worst part is that these loses cannot be recovered and will have a lasting effect on the budget for the year. The longer the shutdown lasts, the more intensive the effect will be.”
On the 22nd of December, when the shutdown started, the institute managed to leave its National Zoo, and museums open. The only reason why it was able to keep these places open for about 11 days was that it had some carryover funds from last year. Now that the funds have been exhausted, Smithsonian would have no choice but to wait until the shutdown is over to resume its operations.
Of all Smithsonian’s operations, the National Zoo has been affected the most. Apart from the fact that it has been closed, the cameras are not working because of the shutdown. The only thing they can afford to do at this time is feeding the animals.
Skorton talked about how the shutdown has affected its 4,000 plus employees. Their only compensation is that they will receive all the money they are owed after the shutdown. This will only comfort the employees who have some savings that they can use during this period. Those without savings will have to look for how to get short-term loans.