The Latest: CT bans semitrailers on some roads for 12 hours

Pedestrians walk across a bridge near Eastern Salt Company where mountains of road salt wait to be delivered to area municipal depots, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Chelsea, Mass., as preparation continues for a storm that is expected to dump a foot or more of snow throughout the Northeast. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Pedestrians walk across a bridge near Eastern Salt Company where mountains of road salt wait to be delivered to area municipal depots, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Chelsea, Mass., as preparation continues for a storm that is expected to dump a foot or more of snow throughout the Northeast. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – The latest developments on the winter storm moving across the Northeast (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday he is banning tractor trailer and tandem trailers from all limited access highways, beginning at 9 p.m. due to the severe winter snow storm.

The Democrat said the ban will end at 9 a.m. Thursday. Neighboring states are implementing similar bans.

The governor said the ban won’t affect the state’s orders of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, which have already arrived.

The state is planning to allow up to five nursing homes to begin vaccinating staff and residents on Friday, in advance of the planning Monday rollout.

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4:25 p.m.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday activated the state’s severe cold weather protocols to help protect vulnerable populations from freezing temperatures during the snowstorm.

The protocols include starting up a system for state agencies and municipalities to work with the United Way’s 2-1-1 information service and shelters statewide. The system allows people to call 2-1-1 if they need help, and allows officials to monitor shelter capacity and arrange transportation to shelters.

Lamont said the protocols went into effect at 3 p.m. and will stay in place until noon Friday. He said wind chills are expected to be in the single digits Thursday night.

Also Thursday, many COVID-19 testing locations across Connecticut will be closed because of the storm.

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4:25 p.m.

A multi-faceted winter storm coated parts of Virginia with snow, sleet and freezing rain on Wednesday, taking down tree limbs, creating power outages and leading officials to warn motorists against travel.

Dominion Energy reported more than 8,100 customers were without power by mid-afternoon, the majority of them in the Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia State Police said that as of 3 p.m., troopers had responded to approximately 200 crashes and 125 disabled vehicles. A single-vehicle accident on Interstate 81 killed a North Carolina man, and state police said slick road conditions were a factor.

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3:30 p.m.

Heavy snow has been falling for a couple hours in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where forecasters said a six-decade-old record for a December snowfall could be broken.

With sleet, snow and high winds expected into the evening and overnight, officials were imposing lower interstate speed limits and phasing in restrictions on trucks and other commercial vehicles.

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2 p.m.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island has closed all state-run coronavirus testing sites as the region braces for a major winter storm.

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s office said Wednesday that all indoor and outdoor sites booked through the state’s testing website will be shuttered on Thursday.

Anyone with a Thursday appointment will not need to make new one when the sites reopen, the office said. They can simply go to the site at any time with their confirmation notice and they will be tested.

Rhode Island is expecting as much as a foot of snow. A winter storm warning has been issued for Providence and Kent counties from 7 p.m. Wednesday through 1 p.m. Thursday.

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1:45 p.m.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the height of the storm will arrive in the state when most people should already be at home under the state’s existing COVID-19 stay-at-home advisory from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

He urged anyone who can work from home to do so. That will help the snowplows clear roads more easily, he said at a Wednesday press conference.

“We’re obviously asking people to stay off the roads,” the Republican said. “People should take it slow.”

The state Department of Transportation is planning to deploy 3,800 pieces of snow-fighting equipment to keep 15,000 miles of roadway open for traffic, Baker said.

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said some state and local public works officials are facing driver shortages due to the coronavirus. That could slow some snow plowing efforts, she said.

Baker also said that those who have scheduled a COVID-19 test for Thursday morning should contact their provider to see if they need to reschedule.

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11 a.m.

NEW YORK — Restaurants across New York City are facing the challenge of how to protect makeshift outdoor dining spaces from a fleet of snow plows that will roll out to deal with a major snowstorm.

The city has ordered all outdoor dining suspended by 2 p.m. Wednesday, around the time when the storm is expected to start dumping a foot or more of snow in the city and throughout the Northeast.

New York City restaurants aren’t being required to break down wooden shacks and other structures they’ve set up in parking spaces for outdoor dining during the pandemic. But the city wants them to remove or secure outdoor furniture, remove heaters and the tops of their structures to make way for the plows that typically push piles of snow into parking spaces.

The eateries were already struggling to cope with a state shutdown on Monday of all indoor dining.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is poised to restrict commercial traffic from some highways because of the impending snow storm.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday, commercial vehicles will be prohibited from the interstate highways that cross the state. The restriction includes all tractor-trailers, passenger vehicles pulling trailers, recreational vehicles and motorcycles.