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  1. ITV Report

US government shutdown: What landmarks are affected?

The public were told the iconic monument was closed due to the government shutdown. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The US government shutdown has entered its third day as the Senate deadlock continues, forcing thousands of government workers into unpaid leave.

As lawmakers in Washington continue to negotiate a deal to reopen the federal government, parks and landmarks around the country have been forced to reduce staffing or close entirely.

The shutdown happened after the government missed the deadline of midnight on Friday to agree on a spending bill that would have supplied government funds until mid-March.

One of the key issues that Republicans and Democrats are clashing over is immigration reform. Democrats are seeking protection to be extended for the so-called "Dreamers" - over 700,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the US as children. There is currently an Obama-era programme in place protecting Dreamers, but it is set to expire on March 5.

The White House has said any move to re-authorise the programme needs to also include agreement for funding of the president's wall to run along the US-Mexico border.

On Sunday the Senate failed to reach an agreement that would lead to the federal government re-opening and a vote to end the shutdown was postponed until 5pm GMT on Monday.

The last US government shutdown happened in 2013 and lasted for 17 days, many famous landmarks across the country were closed, including the Grand Canyon.

  • What landmarks are affected by the current shutdown?

Among the landmarks affected across the US was the Statue of Liberty in New York.

The public were told they could no longer visit the statue over the weekend due to lack of funds, however New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vowed the monument would re-open on Monday with state funds, regardless of the shutdown.

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The Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey has vowed the Grand Canyon will not close this time - as it has in previous shutdowns - as the state's parks and tourism agencies will provide temporary funding.

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In the hours leading up to the shutdown, the Trump administration reportedly worked on ways to keep hundreds of parks open without staff, although it was unclear which ones would close.

“Not all parks are fully open but we are all working hard to make as many areas as accessible to the public as possible,” U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Twitter on Saturday.

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Yellowstone National Park in Montana remained open but visitors were warned the lack of park rangers could pose a danger.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts, a private company that manages lodges, concessions and restaurants in numerous national parks including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain and Zion, said they will remain open during the shutdown.

In Washington, the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will remain open on Monday, using previous funds.

The National Parks Conservation Association has criticised the Trump administration for keeping many national parks open but without staff.

In a statement on the organisation's website, the CEO said: "With the federal government shutdown, the administration is implementing a partial closure of many of our national parks. Gates would be open and people could enter, but there would be virtually no staff on hand to protect them or the parks’ resources. It’s an irresponsible way to run parks."

Credit: AP

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed are both closed while workers are temporarily laid-off.

Most federal buildings are closed to the public including the White House, which usually offers tours.

Exceptions to the staff being laid-off include "essential" federal workers such as the emergency services, military, airport staff such as security and the national mail service.

The federal government shutdown only partially curbs operations across the country but the longer it continues the more likely its impact will be felt.