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8 things you can do now that the shutdown is over

Oct. 17, 2013 at 4:48 PM ET

The U.S. government shutdown is over, which means Americans can once again enjoy things like visiting national monuments and camping in national parks.

The shutdown also impacted many other activities, so now that it's over, what else are Americans able to start doing again? We rounded up eight things that are no longer off limits now that the 16-day shutdown has mercifully come to an end.

Mei Xiang, pictured here in 2012, is one of the residents at the National Zoo in Washington, whose life is broadcast 24/7 on the zoo's panda cam.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP file
Mei Xiang, pictured here in 2012, is one of the residents at the National Zoo in Washington, whose life is broadcast 24/7 on the zoo's panda cam.

Watch the panda cam

The 24-hour stream that shows the giant pandas at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. resumed on Thursday. Work productivity is expected to immediately plummet.

Rest safe in the knowledge that deadly asteroids are being monitored 

The Near Earth Object Office, which coordinates coordinates NASA's efforts to detect and track potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that could approach Earth, is back in business. No need to keep Ben Affleck or Bruce Willis on standby any more. 

A Powerball lottery ticket is purchased at the Fuel City store in Dallas on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. For Wednesday's drawing, Powerball's estimated ...
LM Otero / AP
Buying a lottery ticket in Washington, D.C. recently meant no payoff until the end of the shutdown.

Buy a lottery ticket in Washington D.C. and actually collect on it if you win

During the shutdown, people could still buy lottery tickets in the nation's capital, but if they won there would be no payout until the stoppage ended. So that $100 million Powerball jackpot would have been on hold until the shutdown ended if you were holding the winning ticket. 

Sick of telemarketers? Now you can block them from calling you again.
Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images/Vetta
Sick of telemarketers? Now you can block them from calling you again.

Keep telemarketers from annoying you

The Federal Trade Commission website was down during the shutdown, so anyone hoping to sign up for the "National Do Not Call registry" to limit the number of telemarketing calls was out of luck until Thursday. 

The end of the shutdown means that Americans can go back to eating their dinners without being peppered with questions about the warranties on their car or the vacations they don't want.

Get a small business loan

If you were waiting to get started on that great idea for a small business, you had to wait out the shutdown because most of the Small Business Administration was on furlough. That meant federally-backed loans had to wait until the shutdown ended before they could be approved.



Malia Reiser pets a pony in the petting zoo at the Dana Point Easter egg hunt at Pines Park in Dana Point, Calif., on Saturday, April 7, 2012. (AP Pho...
Kent Treptow / AP
Was the shutdown stopping you from getting a pony? Now you can go for it.

Adopt a pony

The Bureau of Land Managements's wild horse and burro adoption program was on hold during the shutdown. Those trying to pull the trigger on bringing in a wild new pet can finally get their request in. 

In this undated photo, people hold wine glasses containing 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon at Sunnyslope's Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell, Idaho. Agritouris...
Greg Kreller / AP
Cheers!

Buy a winery 

Those patiently waiting to finally get started on launching the winery they have wanted to start can now be accommodated. Winery permit processors, who were furloughed during the shutdown, are back to work. 

With the Lincoln Memorial in the distance, a worker cleans the fountain at the World War II Memorial in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. Barriers ...
Susan Walsh / AP
This worker was back on the job Thursday, cleaning the fountain at the World War II Memorial. Barriers went down at National Park Service sites and thousands of furloughed federal workers began returning to work throughout the country after 16 days off the job because of the shutdown.

Jump in a fountain

Forty-five fountains on government property were turned off during the shutdown, but will be reactivated now that a settlement is reached. 

While the end of the shutdown has meant the return of these services and more, one group of Americans who may be sad it's over are those getting audited by the Internal Revenue Service. Those audits will now resume. (Sad trombone.)


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