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Government shutdown impacts Tri-Cities business, organizations

Studio Brew, Bristol

BRISTOL, Va-- The standoff between lawmakers in Washington D.C. is impacting local businesses and organizations in the Tri-Cities.

The partial government shutdown came after President Donald Trump’s push for Democrats to approve his $5.7 billion demand for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

While the fight in Washington D.C. continues, many Tri-Cities businesses are in a bind.

The government shutdown is brewing problems for beer makers in the Tri-Cities.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which has closed during the government shutdown, approves all labels and recipes for new beers. Without the bureau’s stamp of approval, new and seasonal varieties of craft beers cannot be distributed.

“In this industry with people always wanting something fresh and something new, you have to stay on the forefront,” said Bristol, Virginia Studio Brew owner, Erich Allen. “You’re always moving rather quickly on things like this and when the brakes are being applied, and you don’t have your foot on the pedal that causes a problem.”

Allen said they have two new beer recipes they would like to release, but those will have to be put on hold until the shutdown is over.

"Get it fixed, get it right, and let’s get back to business, " said Allen.

Abuse Alternatives, a local agency that helps domestic violence victims and their children is also impacted.

“If the shutdown continues past February we will have to start looking at major cuts,” said Abuse Alternatives Director, Donna Mix.

Mix said 57% of their funding is federal, which means they are depending on donations from private individuals in the community in order to continue services.

"Cutting services to victims and their children is the very last thing that we want to have to do,” said Mix.

East Tennessee State University is also affected by the government shutdown. University spokesperson Joe Smith said they have identified 150 students who will be impacted.

When students complete their financial aid, some are selected for verification. Part of the process involves submitting tax return transcripts from the IRS.

With the IRS being shut down, they are not able provide this, stopping those 150 from getting financial aid.

Smith added they are working with those 150 students to help alleviate the problem.

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