Coverage of the stalemate in Congress that forced the U.S. government to a standstill

Cheers as Government Shutdown Ends in North Texas; Fears for the Next One

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Thursday, Oct 17, 2013  |  Updated 6:27 PM CDT
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Federal workers returned to work in downtown Dallas Thursday, but there are worries about another shutdown especially from businesses who depend on federal workers spending money.

Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News

Federal workers returned to work in downtown Dallas Thursday, but there are worries about another shutdown especially from businesses who depend on federal workers spending money.

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Thousands of federal workers returned to their jobs Thursday after Wednesday night last minute deal to avoid a debt ceiling calamity and end the government shutdown.

Several large Downtown Dallas buildings that house U.S. government workers were busy again as furloughed workers returned.

Zakiya Davis, Vice President of American Federation of Government Employees Union Local 1003, is an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water quality inspector.

"I am very glad that the work is going to get done. We're going to help save the environment, save some lives, as well as get paid," she said.

Federal employees furloughed in the 16 day government shut down will be paid.

Businesses that depended on those employees being at work will not recoup their losses.

John Mahler runs Johnny's Café in the 1301 Young Street building, which houses 1,200 federal workers. Most of them were furloughed but many returned Thursday.

"Those that did come back today, they really rallied behind me," Mahler said. "They know I took a loss, a pretty extensive loss."

Mahler estimates it was $25,000 and he's concerned that the settlement ending the shutdown only funds the federal government for another three months.

"I don't know if I can take another loss like this, not for more than two or three weeks again. About $25,000 that I was counting on now, I've lost and I won't get it back," Mahler said.

Lenny's Sub Shop is on Jackson Street between the 1301 Young Building and the Cabel Federal Building.

Absent workers from both buildings returning Thursday doubled Lenny's lunch business from the day before.

"You could basically tell this morning from the time we opened up that things were going to be different and it really shows," said Lenny's employee Gerald Nails.

"It affects our paychecks. It affects our hours. It affects everything that happens here at the store," he said.

Some federal agencies were not back to full strength Thursday.

The Bush Presidential Center in Dallas is due to open Friday.

US Army Corp of Engineers Parks around North Texas will open gradually as workers return.

Park visitors can call 817-886-1306 to check on reopening schedules.

AFGE's Davis said workers have the same questions businesses do about how long regular operations will continue.

"We really wanted to see something more productive happen and give us a longer stay but we're happy with what we have and just have to spend wisely and hope that we won't be in the same position in January," she said.

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