CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) - The government shutdown is affecting more than just employees who have been furloughed. One town's economy in southeastern New Mexico is plummeting because it relies on a federally-owned park to keep its businesses afloat.
There are signs after signs inviting tourists to special attractions they can only find at White's City, but now the main attraction, the nearby Carlsbad Caverns, is closed meaning major economic problems for the town.
"It's hurting the city. It's hurting the motel. It's hurting the grocery store, the gift shop, the RV center, the campground, it's affecting everybody," said White's City employee Oralee Tarvin.
White's City officials say every store and restaurant in the area will close early for the remainder of the government shutdown. They say it's too expensive to stay open without customers.
"Hours have been cut; paychecks are going to be much smaller," said White's City employee Stacey Mortinsen.
It's especially detrimental to servers at White's City's Restaurant who say their income heavily relies on extra hours and tourists' tips.
"Some of the people at the restaurant have already started looking for other jobs to help supplement that kind of stuff. Otherwise, the rest of us, we just don't spend any money," said Mortinsen.
Oralee Tarvin has been a waitress at the restaurant for nearly 20 years.
"It's stressful very stressful," said Tarvin.
She says on a normal fall day she'll have between 20 and 25 tables. On Monday, she had two.
"Everybody is just doing their everyday jobs, you know. Just trying to get some hours and work payday by payday," Tarvin said.
City officials say with the Carlsbad Caverns closed they've lost almost all of their tourist income.
They say they'll resume regular business hours at shops and restaurants once the shutdown is over.
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