MONTREAL -- Religious leaders in Quebec are denouncing new restrictions on the number of congregants allowed inside houses of worship at one time amid an increase in COVID-19 cases in the province.

Quebec on Sunday tightened public health directives for indoor public and private gatherings, saying a maximum of 50 people can now attend indoor religious services.

In regions classified as orange under the province's alert system, including Montreal and Quebec City, that limit goes down to 25.

The religious leaders say they want to be classified like theatres and concert halls, which can host as many as 250 people, even in orange zones.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.