Commissaries, Tripler affected by federal furloughs

Pearl Harbor Commissary
Pearl Harbor Commissary

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A hospital and clinics, commissaries, and even a beach. Those are just some of the Hawaii facilities affected by Department of Defense furloughs that began on Monday.

Because of the furloughs, many facilities will be closed one day a week for almost three months including all the commissaries.

Shoppers who went to the Pearl Harbor Commissary on Monday were completely denied.

“Oh, we come all the way down here for nothing,” one shopper said.

“It’s horrible,” another shopper said.

Shoppers were left stunned and confused.

“But I didn’t realize that the commissary was going to be closed,” shopper Wayne Terada said.

“Really? Since when is that?” another shopper said.

After reading signs or talking to others, they learned Monday is the new “Furlough Monday.”

The furloughs for Department of Defense civilians went into effect to meet mandated budget cuts forced by the sequester.

The furloughs run through the end of September and affect a variety of services.

At Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, many offices will be closed on Mondays or Fridays.

All of the commissaries at Pearl Harbor, Schofield, Hickam, and Kaneohe are closed on Mondays.

“Not all the commissaries should be closed all in one day,” one shopper said.

The furlough will impact 650,000 civilian defense workers including 14,000 commissary workers, who will lose 20 percent of their pay.

But that’s not all. Tripler Army Medical Center is also affected, reducing appointments and staff. Numerous departments, including pulmonary, neurology, family medicine, and cardiology are seeing cutbacks.

Services that have been scaled back affect many families like the Dunhams, who now have to do their grocery shopping somewhere else.

“The prices are huge. A huge difference,” shopper Tabitha Dunham said.

Others have a grin-and-bear-it attitude and will make adjustments for the next 11 weeks.

“I come back tomorrow. I always come down here,” shopper Juanita Willis said.

“Oh, we can’t do anything about it,” another shopper said.

Even though the commissaries are now closed on Mondays, the furloughs do not affect the Navy Exchange because the NEX is self-funded.

Hickam Beach’s lifeguard hours will be reduced.

Also, Hickam’s Joint Personal Property Shipping Office, Housing Service Center and Hickam Housing Management Office will be closed on Mondays.

Security, fire and emergency services are not affected.

For more information on the changes to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam services, visit this website.

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