At the Lawrence Livermore Lab, 6,000 employees are suspending their research. Many consider that not only bad for science, but bad for the local economy.
Winding down the lab means this is probably going to the last time Chris Work is going to eat out for a while.
"I'm going to be looking at Top Ramen and things like that for a while," he said.
The China Villa restaurant is anticipating a 60-70 percent drop in business.
"Yeah, that's a lot because we do at lunch time, most of customers from the lab," said Sammy Lang of China Villa.
Research labs are being shut down, and no one is sure how long it will be before they reopen.
"There are a lot of outside universities, a lot of universities that design experiments for us or perform them," said lab employee Reg Wood. "We just won't be able to do that for them. They'll have to wait, so we won't meet milestones, that sort of thing."
Resuming lab operations will be more difficult than them shutting down.
"It takes some time to get everything back on, test everything and make sure they're operating properly," said lab employee Will Smith.
"There'll be things that will probably suffer as a result, but they'll, we're good people, we'll get through it," said lab employee Kathy Hermes.
Rep. Eric Swalwell D-Pleasanton, whose district includes Livermore, is concerned the furlough and pay loss may hurt the national labs.
"If we are going to give them more uncertainty than they would have in the private sector and less pay than they would have in the private sector, there's really no reason for them to stay there. And, so, now we're also risking a brain drain," he said.
Lawrence Livermore Lab's employees will wrap up work on Wednesday. They will take Thursday and Friday as holidays.