Rhode Island becomes first in Northeast bloc to lift stay-at-home order

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Rhode Island on Saturday will become the first state in the Northeast coalition to lift its stay-at-home order during the coronavirus outbreak.

The move will permit the reopening of noncritical retail stores and offices, but with capacity limits, the state says. Elective medical procedures also will be allowed to resume.

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"My goal is to get as many people back to work as quick as possible without ever jeopardizing our public health and without ever having to go backwards to where we’ve just come from, which is shutting down our economy,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday.

She is expected to sign an executive order Friday establishing the beginning of phase one of reopening the state’s economy, WPRI reports.

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“We will be the first in the northeast to lift the stay-at-home order ahead of Massachusetts and Connecticut. … We are in a better position, so we can lift our restrictions a little sooner,” CNN quoted Raimondo as saying.

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Rhode Island, as of Friday, has 10,779 confirmed coronavirus cases and 399 deaths, statistics show.