Two of our favorite wedding venues, El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, are closed because of the federal government shutdown. The funding that our local government and tourism board has provided to keep these island treasures open over the past few weeks has ended.
This is particularly unsettling as there is no end in sight. As we spoke to the hardworking National Park Service rangers several days ago at a beautiful sunset wedding at El Morro, they were shaken with uncertainty over how to support their families. Our two biggest tourist attractions are closed, even with the eyes of the world on Puerto Rico this month as we welcome Hamilton AND Jimmy Fallon. For our couples planning their weddings in these extraordinary places, they are wracked with questions and doubts about their wedding venue and plans (though, not to worry, we have amazing plan b’s and plan c’s lined up already!).
In addition, one of the biggest employers on our island, and vital services, is the U.S. Coast Guard. This season brings surfers and tourists around the world to enjoy our island and play in her waters, and we depend on the Coast Guard to keep us and our visitors safe. While our local Coast Guard heroes are doing everything possible to maintain service as usual, it is not sustainable without proper funding.
We know and feel for so many who are affected so much more from the federal government. And, yes, there are so many other magical places in Puerto Rico beyond Old San Juan, and we hope that the silver lining here is that people will explore more of our enchanted island. That said, as we here on the island continue to recover and rebuild our businesses, our homes, and our lives after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, this is not what we needed. Please help to spread the word, and, let your representatives (especially as our U.S. territory has no voting members of Congress) know that we all need and deserve a working and open government.
Gracias to you all!