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Fort Bliss feeling effects of government shutdown
Updated: Tuesday, October 1 2013, 10:11 PM MDT
By: Bill Melugin
FORT BLISS, Texas -- It's day one of the first government shutdown in 17 years, and Fort Bliss is already seeing tangible evidence of its effects.
Fort Bliss officials said they are in the process of sending out furlough notices to less than half of their 3,700 civilian and Department of Defense workers.
The commissary on post is also scheduled to shut down at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, causing a mad rush to stock up on Tuesday afternoon.
"Honestly, it's just chaos; one day it's pay day, and two, everybody is trying to stock up before it closes at 9 tonight. All the perishable items are on sale, like meats and stuff like that," said Amber Hicks, a military spouse. "Just to check out, you had to wait in line 30 minutes, not to mention you're maneuvering around traffic just to go down an aisle to get something."
"It's frustrating. This is our means of how we purchase a lot of our goods, and then for some of the junior soldiers, this is where they shop and get things at a discounted rate," said DeLisette Pinner.
Some shoppers said they will be forced to go off post and pay higher prices once the commissary closes.
"A lot of military, we live on a very strict budget, and so it's kind of hard to redo your budget now that we're not going to have the commissary, so I guess Walmart would probably be my best option," Hicks said. "It's extremely stressful because it's just as simple as people having a conversation that can't come to a budget, and we lose all our resources."
Fort Bliss officials told KFOX14 the pools and gyms on post will remain open, along with the William Beaumont Medical Center.