WINNIPEG - Manitoba says it will loosen public health restrictions as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The government's reopening plan focuses on gatherings, travel, shopping and dining. Restrictions in those areas will be loosened if vaccination goals are met by certain dates.

“The more of us who get vaccinated, the faster we can regain our freedoms and enjoy what we've lost this past year and a half,” Premier Brian Pallister said Thursday.

The first immunization target is to have more than 70 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older with a first dose and more than 25 per cent with a second dose by Canada Day.

If that happens, the province says, businesses and other facilities will be able to open at 25 per cent capacity.

Businesses will be allowed to open at half capacity if 75 per cent of people have had one dose and 50 per cent have had a second shot by the August long weekend.

The final target calls for 80 per cent of the population to have had one shot and 75 per cent with two shots by Labour Day in September. In that case, most businesses, services and facilities would be able to open with limited restrictions.

Manitoba has been under tight public health orders since a delayed third wave caused a significant surge in COVID-19 infections last month.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, has said that Manitoba is not able to open everything at once, given ongoing demands on health care.

Pallister on Wednesday announced a lottery with cash prizes of $100,000 to try to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Manitoba is moving ahead Saturday to allow small outdoor gatherings, but restrictions on businesses will remain in place.