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Huntsville restaurant's business booming after government reopened

One restaurant near Redstone Arsenal has seen a significant increase in business since the government opened back up.

Posted: Feb 1, 2019 6:07 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2019 10:43 PM

Friday afternoon, businesses were bustling near Redstone Arsenal, just five days after the government shutdown ended. 

At El Coyote restaurant, the manager, Martha Ortega, said she's seeing about 50 more customers a day. Though it's welcoming news, she might have to take drastic measures if there's another shutdown.

"Okay, finally the numbers are increasing, so I'm not hurting to pay my employees," said Martha Ortega.

She said Friday's lunch hour brought a line wrapped around the door. She said it's been that way all week, ever since government employees were able to go back to work.

"A lot of our customers are apart of the arsenal, so even on a holiday when they're closed, we feel like we should close, too, because that's our customer," said Martha Ortega.

The 35-day shutdown was the longest in U.S. history and as it drew on, Ortega was able to barely scrape by.

"I didn't want to lay off my employees, you know, say like ... we're slow, you're going to have to go home, because they're living from paycheck to paycheck," said Martha Ortega.

But if there's a second shutdown, she says she might have to let some employees go.

"We're just anxious right now. We're excited to have everybody back, but we're anxious to know what's going to happen," said Ortega.

For now, she's happy to find her usual customers back in their seats.

On Friday, President Trump said there's a good chance he'll declare a national emergency and bypass Congress to get funding for a border wall, ultimately avoiding a shutdown.

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