Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency today banning car travel after 4 p.m.
According to information from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, a state of emergency can involve different measures and does not always affect travel or private businesses. There may be a request for drivers to stay off the roads and for businesses to change their hours, but the governor may also order roads to be closed to non-emergency traffic.
There has not been an ordered ban on travel since the Blizzard of '78. Violators could be fined up to $500 and be sentenced to a year in jail, although Governor Patrick says the main purpose is to get non-essential people off the roads.
The state of emergency does not mean the state will provide financial assistance to municipalities because of the storm, according to the office of public safety.