Cave City Campgrounds And Restaurants See Financial Loss Because of Government Shutdown

By: Kristin Martin Email
By: Kristin Martin Email

CAVE CITY, Ky. (WBKO) -- "Everybody thinks it'll be okay, it'll be great, and it's not, like this is the deadest I've seen Cave City," said Marcie Springborn, a server at El Patron Family Restaurant.

The government shutdown might seem like only a federal problem at first glance, but it's having a huge impact on the people of Cave City.

"Even though they understand there's other things to do, they want to see their national park; and it's not available to them, so they're going to wait," said Jeff Lawson, the owner of Cave Country RV Campground.

"We're a tourist town. So all the restaurants and stuff thrive on people that get off the interstate for the park, so without them being open, nobody's coming," Springborn said.

Lawson said reservations tourist made at his campground were cancelled as soon as Mammoth Cave closed about a week ago.

Seven RVs are there this weekend, but Lawson said a dozen more than that would typically be there this time of year.

He said he's already lost $1500 because of the shutdown.

"The government -- those guys will be getting paid. When this is all finished, everybody's going to catch up on their pay. The small business guy is not. We take the hit for their political blunders, and regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, their decisions affect us in the pocket and it'll never be made up to us," Lawson said.

The restaurants are feeling the hit as well.

Springborn said she makes about $100 on a typical Friday night, but this past one, she went home with $40.

"I have two kids at home that I have to support. So without business, it's extremely slow; and we only make $2.35 an hour, so tips here are livelihood," she said.

She said she wants to continue working at that restaurant, but is applying for other jobs in preparation for the worst.

Both of them hope the government shutdown ends soon, and Mammoth Cave opens again before their financial problems get even worse.

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