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Estes Park businesses band together to help furloughed federal employees

ESTES PARK, Colo. — Businesses in Estes Park are joining forces to make the federal government shutdown a bit more manageable. Most of the federal employees in the mountain town work at Rocky Mountain National Park. Many park services have been suspended during the shutdown.

Around two dozen businesses have already announced special offers for furloughed workers, according to the Estes Park Economic Development Corporation.

“If you can make somebody feel better with a simple meal, you’re doing your job,” said Anthony “Antonio” DeSousa of Antonio’s Real New York Pizza.

DeSousa recently loaded one of his pizzeria gift cards with $500 — starting a tab for federal workers not getting paid.

“We’ve had donations from all over the place,” he said. “Somebody called in from Detroit yesterday.”

Adam Shake, vice president of Estes Park Economic Development Corporation, says more and more businesses are coming on board in different ways. Mom and Pop shops to big corporations are now involved. They’ve listed offers on a community Facebook Page. 

It’s a combined effort of  generosity despite a slowdown in business. Fewer tourists are visiting this area because of limited park services.

“Some businesses feel like they’re doing OK,” economic development corporation president Jon Nicholas said. “Others are saying, literally, 'We don’t have anyone coming in right now.'”

Banks and credit unions in Estes Park are helping out on mortgages. The town government is also telling furloughed workers not to worry about late fees on utility bills, according to Shake.

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