PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Restrictions that required many Rhode Island businesses to close early to thwart the spread of the coronavirus are scheduled to be lifted Friday, according to a spokesperson for the state Commerce Department.

Gov. Gina Raimondo will sign an executive order Friday to lift them immediately, according to an email from spokesperson Matt Sheaff.

Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said Thursday that the restrictions that required many businesses, including restaurants, to close at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday would be lifted Sunday because key coronavirus metrics were heading in the right direction.

That schedule has been moved up.

“Small businesses, especially our restaurants, have been hit so hard during this pandemic,” Sheaff said. “Because our COVID-19 data is showing positive signs across the board, we are able to gradually relax some of the business restrictions in place.”

The restrictions were put in place in late November.

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