MONTREAL -- Quebec will allow indoor gatherings of up to 50 people as of next Monday and is also relaxing some of its physical distancing guidelines.

People taking part in indoor gatherings - such as concerts or theatre productions - may keep a physical distance of 1.5 metres, down from the earlier guideline of two metres, public health officials said.

Children aged 16 age or younger will now be able to maintain a physical distance of one metre whether they are indoors, such as in a classroom, or outdoors, such as at day camps.

In schools, children will still need to maintain a distance of two metres from their teachers.

Public health officials are still strongly recommending that people wear face coverings when they are indoors or in settings where physical distancing is not feasible.

Quebec's national director of public health Horacio Arruda and Richard Masse, a strategic medical advisor for public health and Quebec's department of health and social services, made the announcment Monday morning in Montreal.

Arruda said that in some indoor locations where people are sitting and don't need to circulate other than to enter or leave, such as movie theatres, physical distancing will be reduced to 1.5 metres.

Other places where people will be allowed to maintain a 1.5-metre distance include junior colleges, universities and venues for shows.

Restaurants, however, will need to keep the two-metre rule when they reopen in the Montreal area next week, because their patrons tend to speak while facing one another, which increases the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus through droplets, Arruda said

Bars will still not be permitted to reopen, Arruda and Masse said. An announcement on the reopening of churches and houses of worship is expected in the coming days, they added.

There are now 5,242 people who have died of COVID-19 in Quebec, health authorities announced Monday, as confirmed cases in the province reached 54,054.

That’s up 20 from the 5,222 deaths reported Sunday; 11 of the newly reported deaths took place in the past 24 hours, while nine others occurred prior to June 7.

COVID-19 cases in Quebec rose 102 from the 53,952 announced a day earlier. That is the fewest new cases reported since March 22, when 38 were reported.

There are 771 people being treated for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals as of Monday, up two from the 769 reported Sunday. Of those in a hospital, 82 are in intensive care, down three from the 85 reported 24 hours earlier.

The number of people in Quebec who have recovered from COVID-19 as of Monday is 22,213, up 471 from the 21,742 recoveries reported a day earlier.

Quebec reported that it completed 6,817 COVID-19 tests on Saturday, down 2,802 from the 9,169 it completed a day earlier. (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior).

The government continues to miss its daily testing targets. Authorities haven't conducted more than 10,000 tests in one day since June 5; the government's target was 14,000 daily tests.

Arruda said he didn't know if health authorities will be able to meet that target anymore, given the low rate of community transmission in the province, including in Montreal. The city reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

But Masse said what's important is that the province maintain the "residual capacity" to test 14,000 per day if and when transmissions pick up again. "We'll need that surge capacity when outbreaks occur."

- The Canadian Press contributed to this report