Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has directed all non-essential state employees to stay home from work on Monday, Feb. 1, given the impending snowstorm.
Baker said in a statement Sunday night that employees should not report to their workplaces and should telework where possible. The announcement comes as the region braces for a whopper of a storm that could dump well over a foot of snow in many areas, create blizzard-like conditions and cause travel problems for the next few days.
The Registry of Motor Vehicle customer service centers will close at noon on Monday, while all other Executive Branch state offices will be closed to the public, according to Baker's statement.
The Baker Administration is urging residents to stay off roadways and to use public transportation when possible as the storm moves across the commonwealth by mid-day Monday.
“Driving tomorrow will be hazardous due to the high winds and snow in the forecast, so we are asking everyone to stay off the roads, avoid traveling if possible and to use public transportation if they have to go out,” Baker said the statement.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is prepared for the nor'easter, Bakr said, and has approximately 3,900 pieces of state and vendor equipment available for snow and ice operations -- this includes over 1,400 plow and spreader combos, 2,100 plows, and 460 front-end loaders.
Baker said MassDOT anticipates imposing a tractor trailer travel ban on Interstate 90 on Monday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. He also said that Massachusetts State Police may also impose a speed restriction for motor vehicles of 40 mph. on I-90 between specific interchanges if conditions warrant.
Much of the region could see blizzard-like conditions, with a foot to 18 inches of snow. With officials encouraging people to stay home and off the roads, that means vaccine locations around the area could be forced to shut down or make scheduling changes.
Baker said in the case of closures due to inclement weather, providers of COVID-19 vaccination sites will reach out directly to anyone with an appointment to reschedule. If anyone cannot safely get to their appointment, they will be allowed to reschedule directly with the provider with whom they scheduled a vaccination, Baker said.
The snow was expected to start falling in Massachusetts on Monday morning, bringing up to a foot of snow to impact the evening commute. The storm will reach northern New England later that night, meteorologists said. Winds strong enough to bring down tree branches with gusts ranging from 35 to 70 mph were forecast for the storm.
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Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, MassDOT, and Massachusetts State Police are working closely with the National Weather Service to monitor the forecast.
The Associated Press contributed to this report