State officials today cautioned residents to hunker down and not go out if they have to tomorrow as we brace for Ol' Man Winter to deliver a roundhouse punch of a foot or so of white stuff driven by gusty winds.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said that about 10% of the workers who would normally be driving plows or laying down sand and salt are currently either out sick with Covid-19 or in quarantine because they've been in contact with people who have tested positive. Although this probably won't affect initial efforts to just move snow out of the way; it could slow secondary efforts to clean roads up across all lanes.
Pollack added that the state has taken steps to reduce potential Covid-19 spread among plow operators by closing the break rooms they would normally use for a breather or rest; instead, they'll have to take breaks in their trucks.
Gov. Baker said the state will be aided by the fact that the bulk of the snow will come overnight and that fewer people would be tempted to drive because they're already at home due to Covid-19. But he still urged people to stay at home if at all possible - and that if they do need to go out, set aside more time and take it slow on the road.
He added that because many Covid-19 testing sites are in parking lots, the storm could affect that, so check with the site before showing up for a test.
Pollack said the T is counting on a regular subway and bus schedule, except on the Mattapan Line, where the trolleys will be replaced by buses. Commuter rail will run on what is now its usual reduced schedule due to the number of workers out because of Covid-19. Trains will be run overnight to try to keep tracks clear.
She added that the state has spent $100 million since 2015 to prevent a recurrence of 2015. One example: Switches on train tracks across the system have heaters that will be activated to keep the switches running.