BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all state restaurants and bars to stop on-site service for the next thee weeks on Sunday and said gatherings will be limited to 25 people or fewer to slow the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Baker said the on-site service ban would begin Tuesday, March 17 and end April 5. Eateries will still be allowed to offer takeout and delivery, and Baker said restaurants that don’t normally offer takeout would be allowed to “get into the takeout business.”

But Baker said other businesses, like fitness centers, private clubs, and theaters, would not be able to have more than 25 customers.

“I realize these measures are unprecedented, but we’re asking residents to take a deep breath and understand the rationale,” Baker said. “People need to take seriously this idea of social distancing.”

Grocery stores and pharmacies were not affected by the prohibition on food service, and Baker said residents should consider others when stocking up.

“The reason we’re seeing bare shelves on the news is the people stocking up are going a little overboard,” Baker said. “If you buy two years of canned soup, your neighbor may have to go without.”

Megan Ball, an employee at the Union Square Oyster House in Faneuil Hall, said employees were uncertain about what would come next.

“We were going to work all week and now we don’t know what’s going to happen after Tuesday,” Ball said.

“Right now we have to take one day at a time,” said restaurant worker Lynn Joung.

Baker said officials were working to ease and expand unemployment claims for workers affected by the ban.

(Copyright (c) 2023 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox