NEW YORK — Just after 8 p.m., as the first flakes of a major winter storm began falling across the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a state of emergency, imposing restrictions on nonessential travel beginning 6:00 a.m. on Monday, February 1.
Joining Dean Meminger by phone on NY1, the mayor warned New Yorkers to refrain from travel as the storm’s intensity worsens throughout day.
“Make no mistake: this storm will bring heavy snowfall, and it will make travel dangerous in every neighborhood in our city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New Yorkers should stay home, keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles, and let our plows work to keep us all safe. This order will be mandatory at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, and everyone should make necessary preparations this evening.”
The following categories are exempt from these restrictions:
- Public transit workers
- First responders
- Healthcare and homecare workers
- Police officers
- Peace officers
- Any other workers engaged in vital city services
- Delivery of food, medical supplies, or fuel
- News media
- Hotel workers
- Homeless shelter and outreach workers
- Utility workers performing emergency repairs
- Persons employed by pharmacies, grocery stores (including all food and beverage stores), convenience stores, bodegas, gas stations, laundromats, hotels, restaurants/bars, and hardware stores
- Individuals seeking medical treatment or medical supplies
- For-hire vehicles, used to transport persons employed to perform any of these services to and from their places of employment
All public school classes will be remote on Monday as a major snowstorm barrels toward the city, de Blasio announced earlier Sunday.
The impending storm is also halting COVID-19 vaccine appointments at 20 city-run sites and seven clinics on Monday. The mayor said anyone with an appointment will have it rescheduled for a later date.
“The last thing we want to do is urge our seniors to come out in the middle of a storm like this, it doesn’t make sense,” the mayor said. “Tuesday vaccine appointments — right now we’re hoping to get done on time.”
The Cuomo administration announced Sunday afternoon that it would also be postponing appointments at some state-run sites, including the Javits Center.
UPDATE: Due to expected weather, NYS is rescheduling vaccine appointments at the following locations for tomorrow:— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) January 31, 2021
Those w appointments will get emails/text messages w new times/days to reschedule for this week
Melissa DeRosa, top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, tweeted that appointments will be rescheduled.
Additionally, six pop-up sites planned for Brooklyn and the Bronx are being postponed until Wednesday, February 3. Those sites are at the Bartow Community Center, the Bronx River Addition, the Latino Pastoral Action Center and the Edenwald Houses in the Bronx, as well Cornerstone Baptist Church and God's Battalion of Prayer Church in Brooklyn.
The Cuomo Administration said their partner, SOMOS Community Care, will be reaching out to those with scheduled appointments.
The city is expected to get between 12 and 18 inches of snow. A winter weather advisory will go into effect starting at 7 p.m.
The harsh weather is also forcing the city to cancel outdoor dining and after school programs on Monday. Alternate side parking will be suspended through Tuesday.
Catholic school buildings in Brooklyn and Queens will be closed Monday, with all learning moving remote. The New York Archdiocese says its elementary school buildings will also be closed tomorrow, but that students will be given a traditional snow day with no remote learning.
The mayor reminded New Yorkers to stay off the roads.
“We have a real challenge on the roads, on the sidewalks on Monday.” de Blasio said. “Make alternative plans for Monday right now.”
“We can actually have blizzard-like conditions,” added Deanne Criswell, Emergency Management Commissioner. ”Travel conditions are going to be extremely dangerous if not possible at all.”
Sanitation Commissioner Ed Grayson, who joined the mayor at his Sunday briefing, said that some roads are already being treated to prevent icing and that 2,000 plows are ready for the winter weather, with more on the way. But he said because the forecast calls for steady snow, New Yorkers shouldn’t expect to see blacktop on Monday.
“We ask all the critical and essential workers if you have to travel plan for extra time,” he said.
The MTA echoed the same sentiment at a Sunday briefing, asking riders to avoid any unnecessary travel. But the agency did say it’s prepared to serve essential workers.
“We’re prepared for whatever comes our way,” said Demetrius Crichlow, Acting Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Subways. “Our goal is not to have one customer, or one train stranded.”
The MTA said it will deploy 60 road trucks and tow trucks to keep buses moving. It also has 300,000 pounds of de-icing materials ready to be used.
Transit officials said that bus service will be reduced, and there’s a possibility of limited subway service. Starting at 6 a.m., empty tractor trailers and tandem vehicles will be banned on MTA bridges, because of high winds.
There are no service changes yet to Metro-North, but the Long Island Railroad will operate on a weekend schedule on Monday.
Officials urged customers to continue to check for delays and service changes throughout the winter storm.