The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is open for visitors Monday, with New York state picking up the tab for the federal workers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Sunday afternoon. The two sites have been closed due to the federal government shutdown.
Cuomo said the sites are vital to the state’s tourism industry, so the state will spend about $65,000 per day for the federal employees who operate the sites.
“From our point of view, it is a good investment because the revenue we gain from the tourists is multiples of what it will cost to actually pay to open the Statue of Liberty,” he said.
Some owners of tour boat companies told the governor’s office their business had declined about 70 percent since the shutdown began.
Statue Cruises saw steady crowds Monday with many excited touristsgetting ready to pay Lady Liberty a visit.
“We’re so excited,” said a tourist from South Carolina.
“Everyone comes to New York to see the Statue of Liberty,” a tourist from London said.
The governor said the state will pay for the duration of the shutdown, and the sites will be open every day. New York had the same arrangement in 2013, during the last government shutdown.