PROVIDENCE (AP) — Rhode Islanders will be able to gather in larger groups and movie theaters, museums and other entertainment venues will be able to reopen starting in July, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Friday.

The Democrat said she hopes to begin the third phase of her economic reopening plan around July 1, and that it will represent a significant step toward normalcy as the coronavirus pandemic eases in the state.

“Essentially, everything will be reopened in some form or fashion,” she said.

Indoor social gatherings will be able to increase from the current 50-person limit to 75 people, and outdoor gatherings will go from a 75-person limit to 150 people, she said.

That means more people will be allowed at graduation parties, backyard barbecues, weddings and other social events, though attendees would still have to stay six feet apart and wear face masks, Raimondo said.

Childcare providers will also likely be able to increase class sizes from 10 children to 20 so long as the groups remain stable, she said.

And theaters, bowling alleys, museums and other venues will be able to reopen at 66% capacity, or roughly 100 square feet per person, the governor said.

Raimondo said the state's virus infections have remained consistently low, allowing it to move to the next phase of reopening.

The state Department of Health reported nine new deaths Friday, for a total of nearly 900 since the pandemic started. The agency also reported 68 new cases, for a total of more than 16,000.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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