The government shutdown is a week and a half away from seriously affecting the number of burials at national cemeteries around the country.
Cliff Shields, director of the Jacksonville National Cemetery, says the money that’s already been allocated to operate the cemeteries will run out October 22. But that doesn’t mean they’ll close up shop, he says.
“We’ll continue to conduct burials but on a very reduced schedule," he said. "So, to say that the doors are going to close, I would say that’s not going to happen."
"Although there may be some possible delays, we will continue to provide services to our veterans and our families during their time of need as we always have," he added.
Fully staffed the cemetery can handle as many as 12 burials a day. That number could drop to fewer than 5 after Oct. 22 if the shutdown isn’t resolved by then.
As for visitors, Shields said the Jacksonville National Cemetery will continue to stay open from sunrise to sundown every day, although people might notice lapses in the upkeep of the grounds.
There are 6 national cemeteries in Florida: Jacksonville, Sarasota, South Florida, Bay Pines, Pensacola and Bushnell, which is the second busiest in the nation.