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Government shutdown hitting small businesses, federal workers

Sam Samhouri’s corner cafe in Oakland sits on what might normally be considered a prime piece of real estate: Directly across the street from an 18-floor office building.

The problem for Samhouri is that the campus that supplies most of his customers is the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building. That means many of his lunchtime regulars have been furloughed by the partial government shutdown now in its second week.

“There‚Äôs nobody there,” said Samhouri, whose City Cup cafe employs three people.

As the shutdown entered its 11th day on News Year’s Day there were signs the lapse was beginning to have an effect, not just on the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who have been furloughed or forced to work without pay but also on the businesses and industries that rely on them.

While the impact has beenobscured by Christmas, when government offices were already scheduled to be closed, it may become more pronounced as much of the nation returns to work Wednesday. Some businesses are waiting on government loan approvals. Others, located near federal buildings or national parks, are worried about losing their customer base.

The shutdown began Dec. 22 when President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats failed to reach an agreement over White House demands for as much as $5 billion in additional funding for a border wall. With both sides dug in, there has been little indication that the impasse will be resolved quickly.

National parks remained open, though some reduced their services. Smithsonian museums in Washington have accommodated visitors so far, but are expected to close this week. Social Security checks have continued and airport screeners remain at work.

But for many, the impact has been tangible.

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