Middle TN sees impact of federal government shutdown - WSMV Channel 4

Middle TN sees impact of federal government shutdown

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Across America on Tuesday, thousands of federal workers went to their offices and labs and parks, but only to turn in their work phones and take their personal property and leave.

About 800,000 federal employees are on furlough, which means no work and no paychecks until Congress can agree on a budget.

For now, the impact in Middle Tennessee seems to be relatively small.

Some federal offices began to close, like the Nashville IRS office, and along the Natchez Trace, you can no longer stop at restrooms or visitor centers.

It may not seem like much, but that may soon get worse with time.

On post at Fort Campbell, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital immediately furloughed about 20 percent of its staff.

Elective surgeries remain on hold as the hospital tries to minimize the impact.

"Wait times will go up a little bit, but the actual services themselves will remain. We're going to have acute care - the emergency department, our OB services. You know, babies do not adhere to the furlough, so they're going to keep on coming," said Cmdr. Ned Appenzeller with Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.

The shutdown will not impact soldiers preparing to deploy. In fact, most will stay on the job because so many contribute to essential national security.

The Tennessee National Guard, however, furloughed more than 1,500 employees in the state. In a statement Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Max Haston said:

"There is no question that this will cause serious hardships on our employees and degrade our ability to conduct operations, but even with the government shutdown, our remaining soldiers and airmen will strive to continue to meet the challenges and ensure the security of our state and nation."

In East Tennessee, the Smokies were closed to visitors Tuesday, and it was the same near Chattanooga on Lookout Mountain.

Closer to home, the Seven Points Campground near J. Percy Priest Lake remained open for now, but plenty of people with reservations called Tuesday just to reconfirm.

You can no longer, however, make new reservations on the Army Corps of Engineers website because of the shutdown.

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