How does the government shutdown affect South Florida?

Social security, postal mail continue, but National Parks will be affected

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor

MIAMI - The federal government shut down just after midnight Friday after Congress could not agree on how to fund government. Although most essential services will continue, South Florida will still feel the effects of the shutdown. Here's how:

National Parks

All National Parks will be closed because of the shutdown. However, the Trump administration said individual parks will "try to allow limited access wherever possible." When the government shut down in 2013, park service employees blocked access to several locations including the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

Local park officials said all four South Florida parks are accessible, but they are technically closed. The officials urge boaters to use extreme caution when traveling through the parks' waters.

"Park visitors are advised to use extreme caution if choosing to enter NPS property, as NPS personnel will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response," officials said.  "Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk."

  • Big Cypress National Preserve: The welcome center and park headquarters are closed. Most campgrounds are closed. Most restroom facilities are open.
  • Biscayne National Park: The Biscayne National Park Institute, which hosts boat tours and snorkeling trips, is open. The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is closed. Some restrooms facilities are closed.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park: Boat tours and seaplane adventures are open. The Garden Key Campground is not accepting new campers. 
  • Everglades National Park: No visitor centers are open and many restrooms are closed. However, many businesses that operate inside the park such as concession stands, bike rentals and airboat tours are operating. The Homestead National Parks Trolley Service has been suspended. 

Social Security and food stamps

All services will continue including payments for Social Security, Medicare and disability. Benefits for unemployment insurance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, will also continue. However, new applications for these service will be delayed until the shutdown ends.

Postal service

Mail will continued to be delivered in South Florida and across the country. The United States Postal Service is independent of the federal government.

Air travel

Federal employees who work at Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, including air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration agents, will continue to report to work. However, most employees will not be able to work overtime, which could cause delays.

"The anticipated inability to use federal overtime pay for desired staffing levels could cause wait times during peak periods to increase," Karla Cobreiro, a spokeswoman for Miami International Airports said.

However, Cobreiro said U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the airport will be able to work overtime during the shutdown. Miami-Dade County is one of five locations nationwide with enhanced CBP services, which allows for overtime pay during shutdowns.

Hurricane relief

Some long-term federal responses to natural disasters such as hurricanes Irma and Maria will stop and will not resume until the shutdown is over.

U.S. Coast Guard

As part of the military, the U.S. Coast Guard will continue to operate during the shutdown. The Coast Guard frequently assists boaters and local law enforcement in Broward, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties.


Normal service will continue during a "short-term" shutdown, a spokesperson for the rail service said.

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