7 Things We Can't Do During the Government Shutdown

Say goodbye to this face (for now). (ThinkStock)Planning a vacation? Launching a business? Want to row a boat? Too bad, because the first government shutdown in 17 years might very well interfere with those plans. On Tuesday, after Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on how to fund the government for the fiscal year (The issue: Republicans want new spending bills to delay or defund Obamacare; Dems don't), the federal government shut down. And despite a national poll released Tuesday showing that 72 percent of Americans oppose a shutdown, we're in the thick of it. Here are seven things we simply can't do until lawmakers sort this out. 

Go sightseeing: All national parks (like Yosemite, Shenandoah, and the Grand Canyon) have closed and those camped out at the time of the shutdown were given two days to evacuate. That’s bad enough if you simply had wanderlust, but those with pre-paid park passes or who traveled a long way to get to a park, like Valerie Bland, of Zimbabwe, are simply out of luck. “That was my plan. I started my trip two days ago. It’s really rubbish. I’ll be really disappointed if I can’t see Yosemite and the Grand Canyon,” she told The Desert Sun, the local newspaper for Southern California's Coachella Valley. Oh, and if you're a couple getting married in such a scenic setting, better postpone your nuptials.
 
Stay healthy: Not only will The National Institutes of Health stop accepting new patients for clinical research and answering hotline phone calls from people with medical questions, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will halt its seasonal flu program, just in time for flu season. According to a CDC memo, the organization will stop providing, “support to state and local partners for infectious disease surveillance.” If that’s not bad enough, the CDC will have "significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations, processing of laboratory samples, and maintaining the agency’s 24/7 emergency operations center."

Get a small business loan: Put your dream of launching a cupcake delivery service or creating the next Cronut on hold because new applications for small business loans and loan guarantees have been stopped, but existing loans will be honored.

Enjoy baby pandas: Every day, millions of people log onto the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Pandacam for their daily dose of squee: The zoo’s 5-week old cub and her mother, Mei Xiang. However, the zoo's live animal cam requires federal resources to staff the broadcast and without it, the cam is currently blacked out, causing social media panda-monium. But if you're worried about the well-being of those little guys, don't be. On Tuesday, the zoo tweeted: "All animals will continue to be fed & cared for. A #shutdown won't affect our commitment to the safety of staff & excellence in animal care." In the meantime, you can get a faux panda fix at Time magazine's "pandacam.

Go rowing (if you use a boathouse on federal land): Many local high school teams use boathouses on the Anacostia and Potomac rivers in the Washington, D.C. area, but practices are canceled during the shutdown.

Receive veteran benefits: People who fought for our country will have limited vocational rehabilitation and education counseling, and if the shutdown lasts several weeks, suspended payment and benefits.

On the bright side:
You'll still get mail, the military will continue to serve, prison guards and air traffic controllers remain on duty, and NASA will continue supporting astronauts serving on the Space Station.