Restaurant Business Picks Up After NASA Workers Return

Wall at Frenchie's Italian Restaurant in Clear Lake, a restaurant that is popular with NASA workers.
Thousands of NASA workers are back on the job after lawmakers ended the partial government shutdown. While the furloughed workers will be getting back pay under the agreement, a union representative says it's possible that they may have to go through this again.

There was a steady flow of traffic going to Johnson Space Center, traffic that was non-existent for 16 days as workers were furloughed since October 1st.

Bridget Broussard-Guidry, a payroll specialist at NASA, was one of the 3,000 workers off the job.

"People kind of anticipated. They trust we would have a deal and we would be back at work today, so."

Hernandez: "Was it like that when I first talked to you at the beginning of the week?"

Guidry: "Oh no, we didn't know what was going on and how long it was gonna be out."

The end came after President Obama signed the agreement that will fund the government through January 15, and permit it to borrow normally through February 7, a prospect that Guidry isn't too thrilled with.

"Hopefully before January 15, they'll come to some type of agreement to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, so employees won't have to worry about another furlough come January 15."

The last government shutdown in the mid-90s lasted 21 days. Meanwhile, eating establishments near Johnson Space Center welcomed the workers back.

Frankie Camarra, owner of Frenchie's Italian Restaurant, says this furlough was worse on his business than the one in the 90s.

"The shuttle was still flying, so the flow of people that was coming in from all over the country. This time, we felt it." 

Caesar at nearby Momalone says he felt the pinch since his restaurant is very popular with NASA workers.

"We got a big group from NASA right now so, that's good."

Out of 3,200 NASA workers, about 200 were allowed to continue working throughout the shutdown, just enough to service the International Space Station and the astronauts on board.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...