WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor-Essex is moving back to the ‘Red-Control’ level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework next week.

Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliott made the announcement in a news release on Friday for 27 regions in the province still in the stay-at-home order. Chatham-Kent also moves into the red category.

“While we are cautiously and gradually transitioning some regions out of shutdown, with the risk of new variants this is not a reopening or a return to normal," said Elliott.

It takes effect on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 12:01 a.m.

The five levels of the reopening framework are Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Grey-Lockdown. Windsor moved from red into lockdown on Dec. 14.

There are many changes under red zone rules, including the reopening of indoor dining, gyms and salons with restrictions and capacity limits.

Medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex Dr. Wajid Ahmed expected the region to move to the red zone based on several factors.

“I did have a conversation with our chief medical officer of health and I was able to share our data. I was able to provide additional context, details, some of the qualitative information about our community,” says Ahmed.

Ahmed said the indicators for Windsor-Essex pointed towards the red level, which has fewer restrictions than lockdown. The factors were outlined in his weekly epidemiological summary on Friday.

The case rate in Windsor-Essex per 100,000 people for the last seven days is 46.1, the per cent positivity also decreased to 2.6 per cent and the Ro (effective) is 0.76.Summary of indicators for WEC

Ontario’s criteria for the red zone is a case rate over 40, percent positivity of 2.5 per cent or more and a Ro(effective) of 1.2 or more.

Windsor-Essex business owners excited to reopen

Luis Mendez, owner of True Fitness in Windsor said even though there are still capacity rules, at least they can reopen.Luis Mendez

“Getting this red zoning news is ideal for us because it allows us to open up at a capacity,” said Mendez. “Yes, restricted, but at least we’re opening and we’re back in business.”

He said the emails, text, phone calls haven’t stopped coming in.

“They’re very excited, very eager to get back into their fitness routines,” he said.

After two months of no professional haircuts, many residents are also happy with salons reopening.Belleza

“I am extremely excited/overwhelmed because I’ve been receiving calls, messages about scheduling and we’ve got to get everybody in. I think hairstyling should be essential,” said Lisa Fritz, owner of Beliza Hair Design.

Owner of Glow Salon Judy Zanella agrees it’s exciting, but is concerned they will be forced to closed again.

“Yeah great, yay, we’re going back to work, but for how long until you force me to close my doors again and we’re back to where I’m at right now. It’s scary,” says Zanella.