WINNIPEG -- Manitoba health officials are urging people to stay home from work if they are showing signs of sickness.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said at a news conference on Thursday that even though restrictions are being loosened it’s not a return to normal. He noted the COVID-19 virus remains in Manitoba and if residents don’t take the necessary precautions the number of cases could increase.

“Now this virus has not gone away and it's not going to go away, so we need to live in this new normal to continue to loosen restrictions, to continue to find ways to keep our economy moving to the back to a new normal, but at the same time we need to ensure we're taking these precautions – washing our hands frequently, disinfecting frequently used surfaces, maintaining that physical distancing whenever possible, and most important of all is to stay home when you’re ill,” he said.

Roussin said people shouldn’t be going to work or out in public if they are showing cold symptoms, urging those with a respiratory illness, fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath to stay home and get tested.

Roussin noted that in the past, people may have battled through a cold just get to get things done, but said this is not part of the new normal.

“Our new normal is people who are showing signs of illness cannot be out in public,” he said.

Roussin also encouraged all employers to think about how they can support employees that need to stay home when they are sick or self-isolating.

He said employers who don’t give people a reasonable opportunity to stay home when ill, will end up having people come to work sick.

“Because the alternative is that they will come to work when they’re supposed to be self-isolating or when they're ill, and that's going to have a major impact on the work environment,” he said

All symptomatic Manitobans are eligible for testing. The province has also begun offering voluntary surveillance testing to those who are asymptomatic. More information on purposes and procedures associated with asymptomatic testing can be found online.

On Thursday the province announced the draft plan for the second phase of its economic reopening, which includes allowing restaurants to open indoor spaces and restarting sport activities for kids and adults. All businesses and organizations must follow strict guidelines set out by the province regarding capacity, physical distancing and other safety measures.