What’s Open and Closed in San Diego During the Government Shutdown
What to expect when you’re expecting the government shutdown to continue
Cabrillo National Monument | Photo: Shutterstock.com
National Parks turned into real Wild West locations with unmanned visitor centers and dirty bathrooms, TSA employees having to work without pay, and visitors going to national museums and monuments only to find them shuttered with “closed” signs taped to the doors. They’ve all become grim realities in the new year due to the 20-day-and-counting partial government shutdown.
Here’s what’s surprisingly open, sadly closed, and causing some unpaid employees woes in San Diego during this time of limbo.
You won’t be able to go to Cabrillo National Monument anytime soon
It relies on federal funding and is closed to all visitors, but you can still get your fix of beautiful San Diego scenery while soaking up some sun and culture at places like Mission Bay and Balboa Park.
Don’t let other local park and beach closures fool you
The San Diego Parks and Recreation Department is up and running, because it’s a local agency and has adopted a budget for the 2019 fiscal year, but some of these places—like Lakeside’s River Park Trail and San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve—are simply closed for regular seasonal maintenance and construction.
Meanwhile, you can still head over to Joshua Tree and other National Parks
Also preserves, like Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve, though the National Park Service says you will visit at your own risk. While Joshua Tree was closed for a stint due to destruction from unruly visitors (and lack of staff to keep an eye on them), volunteer cleanup crews have stepped up to provide some much-needed upkeep in the park, scheduled to reopen by the end of the week. The closer Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, too, are up and running from dawn to dusk. (For more updates on California State Parks, look to parks.ca.gov.) Additionally, furloughed employees, contractors, spouses and children will receive free admission at the San Diego Botanic Garden during the shutdown.
Local libraries are open for visitors
Libraries are not being impacted by the shutdown because they rely on local funds, which means you can still go to your favorite county library to get cozy with a good book—or even get ahead on your 2019 resolutions with the library’s selection of free exercise classes.
VA San Diego Healthcare System is also functioning normally.
Public Affairs Director Cindy Butler confirms that the center has been granted funding for two years, so operations there are not affected.
And you don’t have to worry about your mail during the shutdown.
Eva Jackson, of the US Postal Service’s corporate communications, says USPS is not affected by the shutdown, as the agency receives no tax dollars from the federal government and relies on the sale of its products for funding.
Travel on your horizon and you still need to get a passport? No sweat.
Jackson also says USPS is still accepting passport applications and the US State Department is offering passport services during the shutdown, with normal processing times to boot.
Sure, Transportation Security Administration employees are affected
TSA employees are also not being paid. But travelers through San Diego International Airport need not fret over longer wait times, says Rebecca Bloomfield, senior communications specialist at SAN. “Our Federal Aviation Administration and TSA operations are currently operating effectively.” Passengers can expect TSA wait times to hover in between the normal 15 to 45 minutes at SAN. (Download the MyTSA app for updates.)
Lastly, border wait times remain the same
Waits are definitely over an hour for standard passenger vehicles and around 30 minutes or less for vehicles with Sentri. As of January 5, US Customs and Border Protection states, “There are not currently any advisories impacting trade, travel, or CBP operations.” (Visit bwt.cbp.gov for updates.)