Newer, tighter COVID-19 restrictions take effect in Manitoba today that cut the size of permissible gatherings.

However, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin has said it was not realistic to ask Manitobans to go without a holiday season for a second year.

He says the new restrictions will allow people to gather in a safer way.

Among the new restrictions, private indoor gatherings with vaccinated people are limited to household members plus 10 other people.

Gatherings that include anyone who is unvaccinated are limited to one household plus five guests.

Faith-based gatherings are limited to 50 per cent capacity with proof of vaccination or 25 per cent capacity or a total of 25 people, whichever is lower, when proof of vaccination is not required and cohorts may be implemented where groups can be physically divided up to a maximum of 10 cohorts or 250 people.

The new restrictions were announced on Friday at an afternoon press conference with Roussin and Health Minister Audrey Gordon due to concerns over rising case numbers and the arrival of the Omicron variant.

"We need to delay the emergence of Omicron to give Manitobans time to get their third dose," Gordon said at the press conference. "We must ask Manitobans to do more to reduce current COVID numbers."

Other provinces have also put new restrictions in place, and the NHL has announced a suspension in play through Christmas Day amid a spike in cases. The NBA and NFL have also had to postpone games due to the number of players sidelined to testing positive for COVID-19 or related protocols.

Post-secondary institutions throughout the province have also been announcing a return to remote learning only, including the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.


With files from The Canadian Press