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Fenway Johnnie's Joins Many Mass. Restaurants Shutting Down For Winter

BOSTON (CBS) - As Massachusetts prepares to revert back to the first step of phase three in Gov. Charlie Baker's re-opening plan, restaurants like Fenway Johnnie's will feel the most impact.

"We're better off just closing," said John Caron, Fenway Johnnie's Owner.

Due to rising coronavirus cases across the state, the state is tightening restrictions. Beginning Sunday, patrons will have to keep their face masks on unless they're drinking or eating. Tables will not be allowed to have more than six people at them at a time. Meanwhile, dining experiences will be capped at 90 minutes.

Caron says people just aren't coming in like they used to, forcing him to shut doors until at least the spring.

"Just the limitations. People come in for a Patriots game, and the game started at 8:20 [p.m.] the other evening - we had to push people out," said Caron. "We really did it for the staff and hoped that people would come, but there's just not enough people to make it worthwhile."

Boston restauranteur Chris Coombs believes the rollbacks are devastating for the industry, which is already struggling to stay afloat with no federal help in sight.

"I think we're being unfairly punished," Coombs said.

President and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Bob Luz told WBZ-TV earlier this week that he is seeing many places make similar calls.

"We expect this number of hibernations to be in the thousands - not hundreds - before too long," Luz said.

He says around 4,000 restaurants in Massachusetts are now closed, accounting for roughly 25% of the state's restaurants.

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