•“The Driving Ban will be lifted in the Town of Amherst as of 7 pm. The Driving Ban will NOT be lifted for Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Cheektowaga during the overnight hours. Lackawanna and Cheektowaga will be revisited in the morning; Buffalo will continue through tomorrow.”
•“As of 5pm, we have lifted driving bans for the Town and Village of Hamburg, Village of Blasdell, and Town of Clarence; driving advisories remain for all municipalities not under a driving ban. All of Erie County remains under a State of Emergency.”
Image courtesy of Erie County
UPDATE: Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted an updated travel ban/advisory map.
Erie County image
He said, "West Seneca's driving ban has been downgraded to a driving/travel advisory. Driving bans remain in the indicated areas of the map, and the State of Emergency remains in effect for all of Erie County."
And, "The driving ban in Evans has been downgraded to a driving advisory. The State of Emergency remains in effect for all of Erie County. Please continue to stay off the roads and allow emergency crews to do their work."
Poloncarz also noted, "It's ILLEGAL for employers to make employees violate a travel ban. If the employee OR work location is located in a travel ban area, employers can't make you come in unless you are truly essential/emergency personnel. Full service grocery store staff are considered essential."
“The driving ban is still in effect in the City of Buffalo. We are asking people to stay off the roads so @BuffaloPoliceNy, the Buffalo Fire Department, and other first responders can safely and quickly rescue those in need.”
On Monday morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted:
“As of 7 AM, the Driving Ban will STILL be in effect for the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna and the Towns of Amherst, Cheektowaga, Clarence, Evans, Hamburg, Orchard Park and West Seneca. It is lifted for all other towns as of 7 AM. The Thruway and NYS route are still closed.”
“Storm Latest: The Travel Ban remains in effect in the City of Buffalo. Please do not drive at this time or you could face a summons. Alternate parking regulations on side streets has been suspended until further notice.”
Image courtesy of Erie County
At a 9:30 a.m. press conference, Poloncarz said the City of Buffalo is “impassable.” Road-clearing work has primarily been focused on providing access to hospitals and for emergency responders.
Initially, the Erie County medical examiner's office confirmed 25 blizzard-related deaths.
Poloncarz later provided this note:
“Very sadly, the @ECDOH Medical Examiner has confirmed another 2 deaths from the Blizzard. Total deaths are now 27. Of these: - 3 were from an EMS Delay; - 14 were found outside; - 3 were from shoveling/blowing cardiac events; - 4 were from no heat; & - 3 were in a vehicle.”
The county executive’s team also tweeted:
•"A State of Emergency is still in effect for all of Erie County. Even if driving bans have been lifted in some municipalities, this is still an active snow emergency. … Law enforcement in travel ban areas will resume ticketing for violating the ban. Cars are continuing to get stuck and blocking emergency responders and ambulances."
•“There is an expected 8-12" of snow through tomorrow in the most persistent snow band areas.”
Poloncarz noted most abandoned cars remain that way.
He didn't expect the driving ban to be lifted during the day.
With regard to power outages, Poloncarz said electricity has been restored to 13,000 residences.
His team tweeted:
•“National Grid: 12,000 customers still without power NYSEG: only 62 customers still without power.”
•“Please, please do not go out and try and shovel or snow blow in this storm - especially if you have a cardiac condition, regardless of age. This can be, and has been, fatal. …
“If you are able and it is safe to do so, please check on your neighbors. We are the City of Good Neighbors and we have had tremendous reports of community members being great neighbors.”
•“We are actively coordinating food efforts for shelters, emergency responders who have been stuck at stations/shops, and those who may be running out of food who have been stuck inside.”
•“Price gouging is illegal in an emergency situation. Independent snow contracts cannot price gouge to dig people out - it is a crime.”
•“One of the main reasons to continue to stay off the roads and adhere to the driving ban is to allow critical resources such as fuel and food to resupply hospitals, emergency crews, etc. per @ErieCountyESU.”
On Sunday night, Tops Friendly Markets Public and Media Relations Manager Kathy Sautter announced, “As we continue to assess our stores and current weather conditions, Tops has elected to NOT reopen any Erie County stores on Monday, Dec. 26, in the morning. We will, however, continue to evaluate the situation on a store-by-store basis as the day progresses and will update our social media pages with the details. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”