Pictured: Ronda Miller works the grille at Ocean Deli on Chincoteague Road on Monday afternoon. Deli owner Andy Tiftikidis said the partial government shutdown has curbed business “about 15 to 20 percent” at the restaurant.
By Ted Shockley
Not only has the partial federal government shutdown impacted more than 1,000 workers workers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, it also has affected the stores and restaurants that serve them.
Businesses in the area near the NASA Wallops Flight Facility are feeling the pinch of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, which entered its 25th day on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
“In the boom times, the NASA economy trickles down in a positive way,” said Accomack County Supervisor Ron Wolff. Wolff is a former restaurant owner whose election district includes NASA-Wallops.
“Now, with the shutdown, it has the exact opposite effect,” he said. “Instead of being a boon for the local economy, it’s a drag on the local economy.”
Little is known about the number of furloughs at NASA Wallops because personnel at the Wallops Office of Communications also are not at work.
Wolff estimated total employment at NASA and its contractors at Wallops at about 1,300.
He said some of the contract employees are continuing work, but that a large part of the NASA workforce is not working at the moment.
“People are certainly concerned, just like they are nationwide,” said Wolff. “They want to go to work, and they feel like they’re just a player and somebody else is putting the strings on their livelihood.”
Andy Tiftikidis, owner of Ocean Deli on Chincoteague Road near the NASA complex, said business has been off “about 15 to 20 percent” during the shutdown.
“It’s a bit tough, especially because it’s winter time,” he said. “But my customers still come.”