Arlington's Crystal City hosts thousands of federal employees and federal contractors, and could look like more of a ghost city if the federal government shuts down later this week.
Democratic Congressman Jim Moran's Northern Virginia district includes more than 120,000 federal employees, and he's called an emergency town hall meeting Thursday night to discuss the potential government shutdown.
"I think this is going to cause some real pain among my constituents and all of the people in the Washington Metropolitan area," Moran says. "And of course, it's not just confined to federal employees."
The owners of many businesses that serve government employees and contractors are bracing for the possibility that the majority of their customers could be furloughed next week.
One of them, Valerie Ligonde, owns Pizzeria Venti in Alexandria. She says 90 percent of her lunchtime traffic comes from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is located a block away.
A shutdown would devastate her business, she says. "So I'm praying very, very hard," she adds.
Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity, a Republican, says a shutdown could put an increased burden on county agencies serving the working poor.
"You have people that are on the cliff, and a missed paycheck or two could push them off the cliff," Herrity says.
Northern Virginia is also heavily reliant on the federal contracting industry.
In Fairfax County alone, businesses brought in more than $22 billion in federal procurement dollars in 2009.
Herrity says it's still unclear how those businesses would be affected by a prolonged federal government closure.
The town hall meeting hosted by Moran is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hammond Middle School in Alexandria.