State officials made a deal with the Interior Department on Sunday to cover the sites’ operating costs by paying $65,000 a day out of its tourism budget, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a Sunday news conference. Over the weekend, the shutdown denied access to around 12,000 people, who would have paid $21.50 each, according to a news release by the governor’s office seen by the New York Times.
“From our point of view, it’s a good investment because the revenue we gain from the tourists is multiples of what it will cost to actually pay to open the Statue of Liberty,” Cuomo said. “We want to keep tourism flowing, we want people coming and we don’t want any disruption.”
The two sites are a major part of New York State’s economy, the governor’s office says. According to the National Park Service, 4.5 million people visited Liberty Island in 2016, generating $263.2 million in annual visitor spending and supporting 3,400 jobs.
The federal government shutdown, which largely impacts government agencies, employees, and federally controlled buildings and sites, began on Saturday. On Monday afternoon, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill to reopen and the government and fund it for three weeks.
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