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Oct 17, 2013 1:51 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Local businesses relieved government shutdown is over

TUCSON- When the government shut down 16 days ago, more than 1,600 civilian employees at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base were furloughed. It wasn't good news for them and it wasn't good news for restaurants near the base.

Diablo Sports Bar and Grill, located right across from the base at 2545 South Craycroft Road, took a big hit over the last couple of weeks. "I worked this past Monday and it was pretty slow," Bartender Kate Shelor says. "I had one or two tables every couple hours, but it wasn't what it used to be."

"Used to be" meaning before congress flipped the switch and before Shelor started worrying about her tips. "It's my entire income," Shelor says. "I'm putting myself through college so all the tips I make here is my sole income."

The same slump was felt down the street at Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant at 2041 South Craycroft Road. "Business has been horrible," says Owner Suzanne Elefante.

Elefante was working in the restaurant when the government shut down in 1995 and 1996. She says this shutdown has been much worse for business.

"This has been an economic atmosphere that has been difficult for a long time," Elefante says. "In Tucson, in the summer, it's our slowest time, so you're finally coming out of the summer, things should be picking up, and then this happens."

She hopes business will soon return to normal, but given what she has seen play out in the news these past 16 days, she isn't so sure. "Will it get back to normal? I don't know," Elefante says. "What is normal anymore?"

Late Wednesday night the White House Budget Office announced all federal workers should plan on returning to work Thursday morning.

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