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Sun Jan 6, 2019, 05:40 PM

Washington DC food trucks feel the bite from government shutdown

Food truck operators are among the many non-government workers suffering as a result of the shutdown. On a typical day, the block in view of the U.S. Capitol where she parks her truck, the Corn Factory, bustles with federal workers. She had not made a single sale of her Venezuelan and Mexican fare by noon on Friday.

Since the shutdown began two weeks ago, some of the more than 400 food trucks that operate in the city and depend upon a steady stream of hungry federal workers have struggled to keep their windows open. Many of the approximately 800,000 government workers who are either furloughed or working without pay are based in the nation’s capital.

“If the government shutdown keeps on moving forward, next week and the following week, I’ve got to close,” Abou Draa said. “I can’t pay my rent. I can’t pay (for) my food. I can’t pay my employees.” Abou Draa said she had lost about $5,000 during what are already lean times in winter months, a difficult situation for the food truck owner with a 3-year-old daughter and a mortgage to pay.

“Terrible. Terrible. I don’t make any money,” said Moustafa Salem, the owner of the Habebe food truck. He stood ready with his employees on Friday to serve meals at what normally would be peak lunchtime, but there was no line waiting for his Greek and Middle Eastern food. “We need money for my son in college,” Salem said. “I need money for myself, for rent, for gas, for employees.”


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