JC Mahler works out at Refine Fitness in Windsor, Ont. on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Michelle Maluske/CTV Windsor)

Small business owners are bracing to go from orange to red because of new infections.

Between Monday and Thursday, there have been a total of 166 new COVID-19 infections in Windsor-Essex.

“We are technically in the red zone,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

But Kate Robinson, owner of the Twisted Apron restaurant feels the province needs to give orange a full two weeks, to see if the current restrictions can make a difference.

“In red zone, a business like my own, a restaurant, is only allowed 10 people, I’m not sure how you continue to operate a business only being allowed 10 where at one point I was allowed 120 in here,” says Robinson

“I think there’s a possibility they might even skip red, and go right to a lockdown,” says Mike Bates, owner of Refine Fitness Studio.

A lockdown would be a devastating blow he says, after having suffered through and survived the first wave last spring, when most of his clients moved to online training sessions.

Moving to red would further restrict how many people are allowed in his gym, no matter how much physical distancing he can provide.

“There are certainly more personal training businesses than there are large fitness facilities, and the personal training businesses who work by appointment we shouldn't be included, lumped in with that.”

Meantime, the medical officer of health himself is hoping the province won’t move Windsor-Essex into red.

He too would like to see the impact of orange restrictions for a little while longer.

“It takes time to see the result from these actions, as we know the incubation period could be up to 14 days, so whatever we're seeing today could be the result of what happened last week or even the week before, so there is that delay.

Dr. Ahmed adds waiting too long is also dangerous, and could allow the virus to spread throughout the community.

The last two times the province changed the region’s COVID colour code, they announced it on a Friday, and the measures took effect the following Monday.