Governor Deval Patrick has ordered state employees home by 3 p.m. Thursday. Highways and the MBTA will remain open through the storm.
Patrick asked private businesses to let their workers out early as a major winter storm bears down on Massachusetts.
"This is for the safety of people and for the ease of keeping up with the clearing of roads," said Patrick during a noon press conference Thursday.
Patrick said he and safety officials will confer later today about whether to close state offices on Friday.
As of now, the state does not plan to close highways, which was done for a major storm last winter. According to Patrick, the circumstances of this storm don't call for the drastic action. The MBTA will also continue running, though delays are inevitable.
Because the storm will produce differing snow totals and wind intensities, officials will offer localized instructions through the event. Patrick urged residents to heel localized warnings about flooding, blizzard conditions and any orders for evacuation.
Patrick also offered some safety tips for residents, like stocking up on supplies, keeping a mechanic (non-electric) can opener available, checking on the elderly, and taking care when running cars in snow.
"Never run an automobile until the exhaust pipe has been cleared of snow," Patrick warned. Two people, including a child, died last year after running cars with blocked tailpipes. Carbon monoxide filled the cars in both cases.
The state has been pretreating roads since early in the morning, and has 1,600 pieces snow-clearing equipment working.
Transportation Secretary Richard Davies said Logan Airport is open and will remain open, contradicting some media reports about the airport. Flights, however, will likely be cancelled Thursday and Friday. Davies strongly encouraged travelers to check their flight status before leaving the house.