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Severe Weather, Severe Restrictions: As Residents of Western New York Prepare for a ‘Windy’ Winter Ahead, State Authorities Issue Guidelines and Safety Measures

As the Western New York state gears up for experiencing a major winter weather of the year, residents and authorities have started preparing.

Earlier this week, the National Weather Service had issued a sever warning for the residents of Erie, Genesee, and Wyoming counties, to gear up for a winter storm that would last in the region from Saturday, 10 AM, till Monday, 7AM. The residents will have to spend their upcoming weekend inside their houses as a blizzard rages outside. Numerous weather forecasts have calculated snow accumulations of 1 to 3 feet in the areas, in addition to wind gusts that are expected to reach as high as 65mph.

‘Essential’ Vs ‘Non-Essential’ 

Authorities have only allowed “essential” individuals to be out on the streets during the winter storm. The Erie County has issued a travel ban for its area and under no circumstances should the residents go out. Drivers who aren’t labelled as “essential” individuals should not be spotted on the road during the ban. In case any “non-essential” is witnessed violating the ban by being out on the streets during the storm, they will be charged with a Class b misdemeanor, in addition to a $500 fine.

The reason behind the implementation of this travel ban is to keep the roads clear of extra vehicles and individuals so that emergency “essential” workers and utility vehicles can function through the storm without any distractions/blockages.

As the county prepares for the upcoming severe weather, the authorities of Erie County created the Essential Employee Exemption Portal, an online portal from where Erie County residents can access the list of “essential” individuals. These “essential” individuals are divided into groups of five, in accordance with different social sectors/jobs.

Travel Ban, ‘Essential Workers,’ and a Chilly Winter 

This portal has made it abundantly clear that only “essential workers” who belong to the below-mentioned five sectors have the permission to be out on the streets during the travel ban:


-Emergency medical service workers

-Urgent care workers

-Nurses, at-home nurses, and any other patient support workers

-Workers who perform cybersecurity functions at health care facilities

-Hospital and laboratory workers

-Social workers, nutritionists, and case managers

-Pharmacists, technicians, and other personnels who hold positions equivalent to that

Law Enforcement/Public Safety

-Police, fire and rescue, emergency medical services and search and rescue units

-Workers who are employed to provide information about essential services

-Officials who are employed to report on cases of abuse, neglect, and child protection

-Hazardous materials technicians or specialists

Public Works

-plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and technicians

-highway/roadway clearing equipment operators

-Workers who are involves in the operation and maintenance of public works facilities

Utilities, Waste, & Wastewater

-Construction workers, maintenance workers, workers responsible for projects/operations, engineers

-Staff employed at community water systems, wastewater treatment facilities, and collection facilities, in addition to workers who are responsible for distributing water.

-Laboratory staff performing water sampling and analysis

Food and Agriculture

-Farmers, farm support staff, and ranch workers

-Employees responsible for food safety and quality

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