WINNIPEG -- The Province of Manitoba is increasing the limit for group gathering sizes beginning on Friday.

On Wednesday, provincial health officials announced the limit will be increased to 25 people at indoor gatherings and 50 people at outdoor gatherings – as long as physical distancing measures are followed. The gathering size limit was previously set at 10 people or fewer.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, reminded Manitobans that even though group sizes have been increased, this is not a return to normal.

"We are still dealing with this virus and we are still going to need to deal with this virus for some time so we still need to take those precautions," he said at a news conference earlier this week.

The province also announced its draft plan for the second phase of its economic reopening, which includes: increasing child-care centre occupancy and day camp groups to 24; restarting sport activities for children and adults; and lifting occupancy limits for outdoor recreation facilities and golf courses.

The province also said travel to northern parks and campgrounds will be permitted; film productions will be able to resume; manicurists, pedicurists, tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists, electrologists and tanning parlours can restart operations; religious organizations can hold outdoor services as long as people stay in their cars; bars and restaurants will be able to open indoor spaces; and swimming pools, spas, fitness clubs, gyms and community centres can reopen. All of these businesses and organizations will have to follow strict guidelines regarding capacity and physical distancing mandated by the government.

The suggested date for phase two to begin is June 1, but Premier Brian Pallister noted this will depend on the advice of health officials and any new cases before this date.

- With files from CTV’s Danton Unger and Devon McKendrick.