Shutdown would shut doors to tourists

The looming possibility of a federal government shutdown could bring many daily operations to a halt.

It could also throw a wrench in plans to visit Philadelphia.

Around Independence Mall Thursday, children ran laps in the grass, parents toted bags of souvenirs, and teachers guided students from landmark to landmark.

Brian Corcoran led a group of fourth-grade charter school students,

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“We actually had this scheduled about six months ago. I am aware of the shutdown and we’re waiting with bated breath to see what’s going to happen,” Corcoran said.

The scene was a typical one, but the most historic square mile in Philadelphia could be much quieter if the government shuts down, according to Jane Cowley, a spokeswoman for Independence National Historical Park, which manages Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, Congress Hall and Franklin Court.

“Visitors and potential visitors to the park should be advised that in the event of a government shutdown the National Park Service will close and secure park facilities,” Cowley said.

Cowley said activities that require a permit, including public events, will not be allowed. But she said safety will not be sacrificed,

“Limited personnel needed to protect life and property on public land–such as law enforcement and emergency services–will be exempt from furlough,” she said. “But ordinary business will be extremely curtailed.”

Cowley said additional information will be provided to the public, as contingency plans are finalized.

City Finance Director Rob Dubow said Thursday he is not panicked about the impact a shutdown could have on the city.

“I think if it’s a couple of weeks it wouldn’t be that much of a problem. I know probably one of the biggest impacts on us would be if federal money didn’t flow through to us and obviously if that continued for too long, there may be some cash flow issues,” he said. “But we don’t really see that as a big concern at this point.”

Meanwhile, visitors are invited to stop by the National Constitution Center Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to speak out about the possible government shutdown.

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