Some Washington, DC, restaurants, museums, and even banks are offering freebies to non-essential federal employees who are furloughed during the partial government shutdown.
Now entering its third week, because the newly installed Democrat House majority refuses to deliver the $5 billion President Donald Trump asked for in the federal budget to build a wall on the United States southern border with Mexico, the shutdown has temporarily shuttered Smithsonian museums and the national zoo.
But local businesses are not catering to the millions of tourists who flock to the nation’s capital every year. Instead, they are offering freebies to government workers, according to media reports.
SF Gate reported:
With Washington’s star attractions closed, the nonfederal museums are vying for attention from frustrated tourists and furloughed locals. The Phillips Collection, the National Building Museum, President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Woodrow Wilson House are all offering free admission to federal workers with government IDs. (This is an effective marketing technique: The Phillips Collection says its daily visitors more than doubled during the extended shutdown in 2013.)
Bars and restaurants are doing their part to entertain and feed furloughed workers. José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup restaurants offer different free sandwiches every day between 2 and 5 p.m., including chicken shawarma at Zaytinya and pulled pork at America Eats Tavern, for anyone with a government ID. Also available to those carrying around their work badge: Capitol Lounge has a menu of $5 cocktails with such names as “Nothing Really Mattis”; Satellite Room is offering $2 slices of pizza; and City Tap House extended happy hour until 10 p.m. nightly.
CNBC also reported on the handouts to federal workers from banking institutions in the District:
Several banks have stepped up to provide federal employees with help through existing consumer assistance programs.
Wells Fargo said it will consider reversing overdraft fees for customers whose income has been disrupted due to the shutdown. Further, mortgage, loan and credit consumers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs.
What exactly consumers can qualify for will depend on their individual circumstances, said Tom Goyda, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.
Bank of America and Citi banks have also offered some help for affected clients, according to CNBC.
“Our Client Assistance Program is available and designed to help clients experiencing financial hardship,” Bank of America spokesman Lawrence Grayson said in the CNBC report.
Some federal credit unions are also reaching out to furloughed workers, including Congressional Federal Credit Union, which is offering has a relief line of credit with an initial rate of 0 percent for 60 days and then 4 percent interest on the remaining balance, according to CNBC.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter