Reporting Esme Murphy
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Now that a budget deal has been reached, you might be surprised to find out that reopening after the shutdown is, in some cases, much harder than you might think.
The shutdown, of course, threw 22,000 state workers out of a job, but it also meant layoffs of more than 1,000 workers at Canterbury Park.
Construction projects on state highways came to a halt and state parks have not been open for three weeks.
But when everything will reopen is in some cases still up in the air.
One place that could give a definite reopening timeline is Canterbury Park. Their card room will reopen Thursday morning and the first race is Thursday night.
“We are certainly relieved,” said Canterbury’s CEO Randy Sampson. “This has been incredibly frustrating. I would never have believed we could lose the whole month of July.”
Canterbury lost more than $3 million during the shutdown.
Owners like Mark LaCount said its been hard to foot the bill for caring for his grey mare and another horse he owns without the chance to win prize money.
“It’s been a 20 tough days,” he said.
For some state agencies, it’s not just a matter of unlocking the gates. Take state parks — a combination of bad weather, vandalism and a lack of daily maintenance will lead to delays.
So many trees are down at St. Croix State Park near Taylors Falls that the park won’t reopen for weeks. Afton is also a question mark because vandals trashed cabins during the shutdown.
The DNR said at the earliest, state parks will reopen Friday for day trips, and Saturday for overnight camping. They advise checking the website, staring Thursday.
As for other services like fishing licenses at the Prior Lake bait shop, officials said they weren’t available yet.
But when we tried, WCCO photographer Brad Earley was one of the first to secure a post-shutdown license.
As for those rest stops on highways — MnDOT said it will depend on inspections Thursday to see when they will be reopened.
Road construction projects, including the big ones like Interstate 94, will begin whenever contractors can get their equipment and workers back on the job.
And the lottery will begin selling tickets Thursday morning.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services division will offer most services beginning Thursday. All people with a road test scheduled for July 21 and beyond will be able to take their test at the scheduled time.
Those that had a test scheduled during the government shutdown should call, beginning Thursday, to reschedule their test. Knowledge tests will be available Thursday.