The National Zoo and Smithsonian museums will close if an agreement for budgeting is not made by 2019.
On Friday, December 21, at midnight, a partial government shutdown furloughed thousands of government employees, leaving them without pay. The reason for the shutdown is due to Congress and the President’s inability to come to an agreement regarding next year’s national budget.
If the government cannot come to an agreement by the new year, the Smithsonian museums and National Zoo announced that they will shut down until an agreement is made. They will close on January 2 until further notice. Anyone planning a trip to D.C. will have to check the Smithsonian and National Zoo off their list and save them for another trip. There is no estimate of when they will reopen, as that would depend on a budget agreement.
The Smithsonian made the announcement on Twitter:
If the #GovernmentShutdown continues beyond Jan. 1, all Smithsonian museums, research centers and the National Zoo will be closed starting Jan. 2. We will update our operating status as soon as the situation is resolved.
— Smithsonian (@smithsonian) December 27, 2018
There were a total of 30 million visits to the museums in 2017, according to The Smithsonian. There are a total of 21 Smithsonian Institutions (including the National Zoo) that will be affected — their employees will be furloughed and will be unable to work. The federal funding for the Smithsonian in 2018 was $1 billion, not enough to keep the museums and zoo open past the new year.
According to The Hill, the Smithsonian is using the remaining funds from the 2018 budget to keep the museums and zoo open until January 1. The shutdown of these locations will only be temporary and they will reopen when an agreement for the funding is made.
Hopefully, the Smithsonian and National Zoo will reopen soon. What are your thoughts on the shutdown? Let us know how the shutdown is affecting you in the comments below.