Hot Springs businesses brace for more bickering on Capital Hill

HOT SPRINGS (KATV) - Hot Springs National Park re-opened Thursday and area businesses welcomed a wave a tourists after a two-week-long shutdown.

It's been nearly 24 hours since congress finally cut a deal that re-opened the government. But businesses are alreadY bracing for another shutdown---if it were to happen.

"It's just nice to see people back on the lawn," said Leah Warner, a resident of Hot Springs.

Hot Springs National Park was officially opened after lawmakers finally cut a deal late Wednesday night.

"I don't think it is over and done with," said Warner. "It's just postponed for a bit."

It's hardly cause for celebration as Congress is expected to discuss the budget again sometime in January. Don Harper, owner of Quapaw Baths, feels another shutdown isn't too far off.

"Relieved that they did come to some understanding, disappointed that we've got another round of this coming up," he says his business didn't suffer. "The overall flow, the crowd flow, was little less."

But he fears another shutdown could last longer and he may not be so lucky next time around.

"The longer it lasts the more detrimental it will be not only to us but to most businesses," said Harper.

Susie DeArmint says round two of a government shutdown would be bad for business since the park is what draws tourists.

"It could really hurt us because this is Hot Springs National Park," said DeArmint. "When it was shutdown, I had several people say, 'You know the parks are closed. We wanted to go and enjoy the water,'" she said.

What the future holds is anyone's guess but that means preparing for it is nearly impossible.

"Hard to plan, when you don't know what's going to be next," he said.

But for now, tourists and residents, like Warner will do what they can, which is enjoy the national park while the government is still operating.

Some business owners said that while the traffic didn't slow down significantly, they did notice an increase in customers Thursday.