Ongoing federal government shutdown ends its third week

Pinnacles National Park mostly closed; retail traffic down in Paicines and Tres Pinos.

As the government shutdown completes its third week, effects within San Benito County are beginning to show.

Pinnacles National Park is closed on the West side, with the East side open only to campers with reservations. According to Pinnacles National Park Foundation, all other visitors will be turned away by law enforcement. No new reservations are being taken at this time.

Campground bathrooms are the only park bathrooms with cleaning service. Only law enforcement and a skeleton crew from the condor program are working at this time.

The park closure appears to be having an effect on local businesses. Business is down about 35 percent at the Paicines Store, according to manager Maria Gonzalez.

Tres Pinos is also feeling the shutdown.

“I have seen quite a bit of slowdown on the highway in general, myself and the other restaurants have said the same thing,” said Wayne Pfeffer, owner of Tres Pinos Country Store. Referring to the numbers of customers in his store, he said: “It is hard to tell with the weather [the] way it is, I have probably seen a 20 to 25 percent drop of the number of people who come in here.”

The 19th Hole reported a 20 percent decrease in business. The Inn at Tres Pinos was an exception, reporting no change in clientele numbers.

According to Congressman Jimmy Panetta, funds to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).could be decreased by 40 percent starting in February.  

However, Jim Rydingsword, director of San Benito County Health and Human Services, disagreed with Panetta saying that California can fund the program through February and possibly March.

“We don't know what will happen after that,” Rydingsword cautioned. “We have 4,734 people on food stamps.”



Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018.