WINNIPEG -- The province’s top doctor is warning Manitobans about the dangers of holiday gatherings in light of the arrival of spring break and Easter being around the corner.

“We saw where that got us over Thanksgiving. We just can't be in that place again, as we continue to roll out our vaccines and really that's, that's the race we're in right now,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial health officer on Monday.

Roussin said it’s the time of year when Manitobans would normally gather in large groups and a lot of non-essential travel would take place, but with the rise in variants of concern in Manitoba, it’s not a time for people to let their guard down.

Public health orders for travel, self-isolation and gatherings and are in effect, with the province strongly recommending people stay home. Roussin said Manitobans need to reduce the number of close contacts and that means gatherings.

“We need people to stay home when they're ill, but we have to be focused," he said. "We can't let up at this time.”

Despite having vaccines as a tool for pandemic management, Roussin said prolonged gatherings indoors are risky, with outdoor ones being less so.

“We will soon be able to resume both types of celebrations; pandemics all have an end and this one is no different,” said Roussin.