The National Park Service reopened on Sunday, but prospective visitors were encouraged to check with individual parks to make sure they were indeed receiving visitors. Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo were set to reopen on Tuesday.
Federal workers who had turned to food banks to feed their families continued to struggle to make ends meet as they returned to work on Monday. Some federal employees have been working without pay for weeks. And many federal contractors are not expected to be paid at all for the days the government was closed.
Jamie Rodny, an investigator at the Housing and Urban Development office in Los Angeles, said she was both excited to return to work and scared she would be facing the same situation in three weeks. She was told she would not see a paycheck on Monday, and said her branch chief told her that he had heard they might get paid on Thursday.
Ms. Rodny, who works for the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity division, which oversees the enforcement of federal housing laws, said she arrived at her office to find frantic emails and voice mail messages from people whose cases she was forced to drop when the government closed. Now, as she returns these messages, she expects to hear that some of those complainants were evicted over the past 35 days or are facing debts because of the forced lull in their cases.
“Where do I start,” she asked.
Ms. Rodny spoke at the Women’s March in Washington earlier this month, after she was approached by her labor union, the National Federation of Federal Employees, about the financial and emotional pain of workers affected by the shutdown. Her family lives paycheck to paycheck, she said, and during the break in pay, they used their credit cards for as many purchases as possible, which resulted in her credit score dropping. She said they were able to make their mortgage payment because of donations they received through a GoFundMe campaign. She recently started an activist group called “Stop Government Shutdowns Forever.”
The president promised the 800,000 employees who had been furloughed or forced to work that they would be paid “very quickly or as soon as possible,” without providing a specific date. The White House Office of Management and Budget directed agencies to prioritize pay and benefits after reopening.
Some federal agencies worked through the weekend in an effort to get paychecks to their workers as soon as possible. The Department of Agriculture instructed its employees to file their time sheets by noon on Monday and pledged to resume direct deposits into bank accounts by Thursday. On Sunday, the commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency, Kevin K. McAleenan, addressed employees on Twitter to say that the agency had already approved a majority of the timecards and pledged to work to make sure everyone is paid soon.