D.C. area prepares for government shutdown

Tourists walk around the Lincoln Memorial as a government shutdown looms. (Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images) Tourists walk around the Lincoln Memorial as a government shutdown looms. (Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s not a hurricane; it’s a shutdown. So instead of gathering nonperishables, the owner of Z-Burger was busy Monday stockpiling four of his restaurants with enough produce, meat and buns to handle a considerable promotion.

“We plan on giving out 5,000 burgers every day of a shutdown” to all affected employees and contractors, said Peter Tabibian, Z-Burger’s owner.

A government shutdown would affect more than 700,000 workers around the D.C. metro area, and as the chances of averting doomsday shrunk Monday, local businesses,  tourists and residents spent the day preparing for an onslaught of out-of-work federal workers.

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue said Monday it would transform into a de facto community center starting at 10 a.m. today. Dubbed “Shutdown Central,” Sixth & I  planned to offer free Wi-Fi and coffee, as well as pingpong and nonstop streaming of  “The West Wing.”

Elsewhere, panda-enthusiasts braced themselves for National Zoo panda-cam withdrawal, and tourists tried to get in as much sightseeing as possible amid threats that barricades would be erected to parts of the National Mall in the event of a shutdown.

For those on the government’s payroll, many were focused less on what to do than how to pay the bills. “We’re not in the best state financially due to medical bills,” said Helen McGee, whose husband works for the D.C. government and was worried that a lengthy government shutdown could affect his paycheck. “We really depend on getting paid on time.”

And that’s why Tabibian said he was preparing to launch his promotion. “We want to show Z-Burger cares more about the people than the government does,” he said.

Other Shutdown Deals for Federal ID holders:

  • Taylor Gourmet: 10 percent off and a free cookie with the purchase of any hoagie or salad
  • Mockingbird Hill: one free glass of sherry
  • The Daily Dish: a free cup of coffee
  • Wisdom: 20 percent off your tab
  • Sprinkles: one free cupcake, today only
  • DC Reynolds: buy a drink, get one free from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (not limited to government employees)
Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.

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Nevin Martell · October 1, 2013