The government shutdown is having a major impact on the small military town of Blackstone. Business owners there rely on customers from Fort Pickett who are currently furloughed or working part-time.
Approximately 200 state employees from Fort Pickett are currently on furlough or have had their hours cut in half. The more than 500 federal employees who are working on the base after they were called back this week are currently working without pay, but will be paid, some as early as their next paycheck.
The ripple effect is hitting Blackstone hard. Blackstone is located Southwest of Petersburg.
Al and Barbara Moore own Farmer's Cafe on Main Street. Most of their customers are military and since the shutdown, the couple says their profits have plummeted.
"I'm really concerned because the shutdown is not only going to hurt me but it will hurt other businesses here in Blackstone," Al Moore said.
Blackstone businesses are relying on military patronage at a time when state and federal employees aren't sure when they are getting their next paychecks.
Across from Farmer's Cafe, Julie Pope's barber shop was empty Friday afternoon.
"Normally we're busy," Pope said. "For now, I'm just going to have to pinch pennies and come to work every day and hope it doesn't last much longer."
Michael Alder is also hoping the shutdown ends. He works for the Department of Military Affairs, the state agency that oversees the National Guard. He is currently on furlough.
"I just pray for everyone, not only myself, but we just want to go back to work," Alder said.
It's unclear when Fort Pickett will again be functioning normally.
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