As the partial government shutdown stretches on with no end in sight, some Chicagoans are feeling the sting of being barred from reporting to work. More than 800,000 federal employees across the nation have been furloughed as lawmakers continue to hash out a plan to reopen government. Chicago hosts offices of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, among other federal agencies that have been affected by the partial shutdown.
Some Chicago businesses have decided to pitch in to make life easier for local federal employees who have gone weeks without a paycheck. Restaurants are offering free or discounted meals, museums are waving admission fees and the Second City has even extended an invitation to government workers who want to take a free improv class. Take a look at some of the offers available to federal employees waiting to return to work in Chicago:
Miss Ricky's Diner (203 N Wabash)
On Monday, January 28, all furloughed government workers with a valid government ID can get a free meal from 7 am to 2:30 pm. The meal consists of a choice between tomato soup or garden salad and then either a grilled cheddar and brie sandwich, an avocado BLT, avocado toast with egg or a bacon cheeseburger.
Adler Planetarium (1300 S Lake Shore Dr)
Free admission to the planetarium with a government ID.
Hai Sous Vietnamese Kitchen (1800 S Carpenter St)
Monday through Wednesday during the remainder of the shutdown, all official government workers can receive a free Cơm Bình Dân, a Vietnamese “Worker’s Meal.”
Cà Phê Đá (1800 1/2 S Carpenter St)
Monday through Wednesday during the remainder of the shutdown, all official government workers can receive 50 percent off food and beverage (dine-in only).
Auditorium Theatre (50 E Ida B Wells Dr)
With a valid government ID, furloughed federal employees can receive up to four free tickets to attend Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz–Gospel Messiah (January 19, 20) or National Geographic Live – Pink Boots and a Machete (January 24).
The Second City (1616 N Wells St)
Furloughed government employees can receive a free dinner at 1959 Kitchen and Bar; a free drop-in improv class at the Second City Training Center (Fridays 5:30pm, Sundays 7pm; pre-registration is required by calling (312) 337-3992) or free tickets to a comedy show (limit one ticket per ID).
OrangeTheory Fitness (All 50 Chicagoland locations)
From now until January 31, government employees can enjoy a free workout with a valid government ID.
wndr Museum (1130 W Monroe St.)
Government workers can ger free admission until the end of January on Wednesdays from 4 to 7:30pm, Thursdays from noon to 8:30pm or Fridays from noon to 8:30pm.