Governor signs State of Emergency, announces statewide travel ban effective at midnight
Boston - In preparation for the approaching blizzard set to severely impact the Commonwealth, Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency, effective immediately, to ensure statewide resources are available for preparation and quick response for all cities and towns. Speaking at a press conference today at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Governor Baker announced that state offices and MBTA service will be closed on Tuesday and issued a statewide travel ban effective at midnight.
"We have declared a state of emergency for the entire Commonwealth to make sure every city and town is prepared and has access to the necessary resources for the upcoming storm. We encourage the public to make the appropriate preparations, stay alert and make plans to safely commute home this evening. As the storm progresses, we will work closely with the National Weather Service (NWS), Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), National Guard and local authorities, assuming all necessary precautions to keep people safe."
A statewide travel ban will be effective at midnight. The travel ban will be lifted by county based on road conditions.
"As the storm approaches, the people of the Commonwealth are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and frequently monitor alerts and updates from the MEMA and the NWS, especially through social media in the event of power outages. Our goal is to make sure the Commonwealth safely weathers this storm in every county, which requires preparation and cooperation from all," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
The citizens of the Commonwealth are encouraged to check www.mass.gov/mema for critical updates and direct general questions to the 24-hour citizen information telephone line by dialing 2-1-1.
The following actions and precautions were announced by the Governor at MEMA Headquarters this afternoon:
STATE OF EMERGENCY – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: Governor Baker has signed a Declaration of Emergency for Massachusetts ensuring state resources are available and coordinated for storm preparation and to enable swift response among the state, cities and towns. The state of emergency declaration will allow expedited use of state resources, the ability to request and receive mutual aid assistance from other states or the federal government if needed, the immediate procurement and deployment of goods and services necessary for response and other actions as considered necessary by the Governor. The state of emergency shall remain in effect until notice is given in the Governor’s judgment that it is no longer necessary.
STATEWIDE TRAVEL BAN – EFFECTIVE AT MIDNIGHT: Governor Baker has signed an Executive Order allowing for the enforcement of a statewide travel ban effective at midnight. The following exceptions shall exist for the ban and all drivers are encouraged to remain safe and use their best judgment:
· Essential emergency response professionals
· Medical, healthcare and human service workers, including shelter personnel
· Essential public transit and support workers
· Public and private personnel supporting public works and utility operations
· Essential state employees
· Those traveling for essential medical procedures
· Vehicles and personnel delivering essential supplies to healthcare facilities.
MBTA CLOSURE – TUESDAY, JANUARY 27th: MBTA service will remain open during regular business hours today. Tomorrow, the MBTA will be closed. Services are planned to resume Wednesday, and additional announcements will be made by noon Tuesday.
STATE OFFICE CLOSURES – TUESDAY, JANUARY 27th: The Governor has directed that non-emergency state employees working in Executive Branch agencies should not report to their workplace on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 due to weather conditions. State offices are scheduled to be open on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Employees should continue to check Mass.gov or call 211 for additional updates and cold weather safety tips.