Bad news for Fleet Week fans, but good news for dogs, as the looming federal government shutdown could end up scaling back next week’s Fleet Week activities.

You are probably aware that a another government shutdown is likely fast approaching, as House conservatives like Matt Gaetz demand drastic cuts in every kind of spending that’s not related to girlfriends and Venmo. And the way these things work, if Congress can’t reach a deal, then the government shuts down at 12:01 a.m. October 1, which is this Sunday.

And in a coincidence, SF’s Fleet Week 2023 happens to begin on Monday, October 2, the very next day. Admittedly, the early week events are smaller-bore things like ship tours and military band concerts. The planes don’t really begin flying until Thursday, continuing though the weekend, and the famed Parade of Ships is next Friday. But there is little optimism that Congressional negotiators will reach and approve a deal before then.

That’s why the Chronicle is pointing out that the government shutdown could affect Fleet Week, as federal and military personnel put on many aspects of the event.

“San Francisco Fleet Week is standing by to take guidance from the Navy and our other military partners,” Fleet Week executive director Lewis Loeven said in a statement to the Chronicle. “Currently, our staff are continuing planning as usual for the greatest Fleet Week ever. We’ll make adjustments as needed as we receive guidance.”

That’s obviously vague, but it’s notable they’re not downplaying expectations. And Fleet Week does have tons of deep-pocketed sponsors, so it’s not like they’re going to cancel the whole thing. But the “adjustments as needed” verbiage sure indicates that some aspects of Fleet Week could be scaled back by the government shutting down.

At this point, no Fleet Week events are canceled. Even if some eventually are, the tourists will still come, and restaurants and retailers will still make their money. A scaled-back Fleet Week would not be anywhere near the worst consequence of the federal government shutting down.

Past government shutdowns have seen the closure of national parks, which would suck for the unpaid park staff. More urgently, countless other federal employees may see delays in their pay, there could be delays in the issuance of visas and passports, and military personnel may miss paychecks.

Some of those personnel will be here for Fleet Week. But at this point, they are still in fact planning on being here for Fleet Week.  

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