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How could a government shutdown affect the Wizards?

On the surface, games won’t be cancelled. But morale in the D.C. area will suffer and business will slow down in the District as well.

The United States Capitol building Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

If you have watched the news or read the newspaper recently, you may be aware that the U.S. federal government’s fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. Congress and President Joe Biden need to turn 12 appropriation bills into law to fund the next fiscal year. But as of Monday at 8 p.m. ET, there are no appropriation bills passed and no continuing resolution to keep the government going.

If these don’t happen happen by midnight Oct. 1, then the federal government will have a shutdown. The military will still be standing post, social security checks will still come to our senior citizens. But most non-essential employees will either be on a forced unpaid vacation, or other personnel like TSA agents at airports and air traffic controllers, will still have to report to work without pay. The longest government shutdown lasted 34 days from 2018-19.

This isn’t a political site. But when government shutdowns happen, they affect the DMV more than most other areas in the United States. A large proportion of the workforce is employed by the federal government. I can only imagine how anxious some of our fellow residents are. Hopefully, a shutdown never happens.

If a shutdown does happen, it also comes right at the start of the 2023-24 NBA season. So how could this affect the Wizards, at least indirectly?

  • Travel delays: TSA agents will have to work without pay, and some may end up taking the day off simply because of the lack of pay. Also, note that several air traffic controllers called the day off in late Jan. 2019, causing major airport delays. This will be the most direct impact on the Wizards’ personnel.
  • Lower attendance than usual: I know, the Wizards have the worst attendance in the NBA as is. But games, especially in the preseason, could be even more sparsely attended than usual because some federal government workers who would otherwise make a game, can’t.
  • Restaurants and other downtown businesses close to Capital One Arena may temporarily close: The federal government and its workers are the lifeblood of the Washington area economy. If the government wasn’t in D.C., this area would probably remain rural and be very different than what it is. Anyway, stores and eateries you may frequent before a game may decide to close early, even on a Wizards gameday. That would make already frustrated local residents feel crappy entering Capital One Arena for a game.

Again, I hope there is no shutdown. But from reading the news, it seems like October is going to be a tough month. Sure, the Wizards’ games are expected to go on, but it’s going to be a bummer for affected workers who are caught in the middle of politics.