HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - Monday brought some more good news regarding the partial federal government shutdown: military grocery stores re-opened.
Many families depend on local commissaries, and Pentagon officials decided closing the stores created too much hardship on our troops, retirees, and their families.
That hardship extended to civil service employees furloughed after the shutdown, as well. In fact, closing the commissaries was like being kicked in the stomach after being knocked down. Fortunately, the pain was short-lived.
Amber’s husband is currently deployed. With a family of small children, she depends on bargains at the Base Commissary at Naval Station Norfolk to meet her budget and told WAVY.com she was very relieved when the story reopened Thursday.
"It was a big deal because we were out of everything, and you get the best deals here, obviously,” she said. “And I feel the safest here because I don't know the area at all."
She knows how to manage a budget, but he inability of Congress to do likewise made that task even more difficult than it already is for a young military family like hers.
"I have a strict budget and we like to follow it, and then this was closed down, so I had to pretty much double our budget anywhere else,” she said.
"It's less expensive than all the regular stores, so I was really sad about it being closed,” said military spouse Amanda Wilson.
A total of 117 commissaries in the United States got the “green light” from the Pentagon on Saturday to reopen their doors on Monday or Tuesday, less than a week after their employees were furloughed by the shutdown.
Commissary customer Patricia Williamson said she had no idea the store would be open again so soon after closing.
“I just took a chance coming today because I was coming to the base for some other reason, and I just swung by here and saw that it was open,” she said.
Commissaries at Naval Air Station Oceana and Langley Air Force Base also opened their doors Monday. The commissary at Fort Eustis is normally closed on Mondays, but will resume its usual business hours Tuesday.
Not all the news regarding the shutdown is good, though. Naval Station Norfolk announced Monday it is suspending all guided tours of the base, something very popular with visitors to the area.
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The amphibious transport dock USS New York left Norfolk Naval Station Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 to move to Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Fla.
Five residents were displaced after an apartment building caught fire overnight in Hampton.