MONTREAL -- More festival-goers will be able to gather together outside in Quebec this summer, the province's health ministry announced Thursday.

Outdoor festivals will be able to accommodate 5,000 people starting Friday; the previous limit was set at 3,500 people.

The ministry justified the change because of "the favourable evolution" related to the COVID-19 pandemic; public health officials have agreed to the new limitation.

All the same, people who do not live at the same address are asked to keep a distance of 1.5 meters between them.

The announcement comes as Quebec City's summer festival gets underway. Outdoor activities are planned for the first week, while shows at the armoury will begin on July 8.

In Montreal, promoter evenko has already announced that it will postpone the 2021 editions of its major festivals, including Osheaga, îleSoniq and Lasso Montreal.

Other events, such as the Francos de Montréal in September, are still scheduled to take place.

The announcement comes just one day after public health denied the Montreal Canadiens' request to allow 10,500 people in its stands for the Stanley Cup finals.

The capacity at the Bell Centre is currently capped at 3,500 people. Officials note despite their refusal to increase that number, they are open to having outdoor screenings as the Habs return to Montreal to play games 3 and 4 of the finals.

free viewing party has been organized at the Quartier des spectacles in downtown Montreal for Friday's game.

-- with files from The Canadian Press.