LONDON, ONT. -- Local retail owners are happy to welcome customers through their shop doors once again, as the region enters red-control zone measures.

Sharon Lehman, owner of LifeStyles of London and Josh’s Shoes, says her business has been closed to foot traffic since Christmas Day during lockdown.

With the region entering the red-control-zone on Tuesday, the retail store can now operate at 50 per cent capacity.

“Okay guys were here, we’re open….get your runners on and let’s go!...I couldn’t even sleep, so very very excited, it’s almost like re-opening your business again.”

With snowy road conditions, it was a slow start to the day for business, but loyal customers quickly showed up to offer their support.

Sharon Lehman, owner of Lifestyles of LondonSharon Lehman, right, owner of LifeStyles of London, speaks with a customer on Feb. 16, 2021. (Jordyn Read/CTV London)

‘Even though it's a snowy day, it's a happy day we all need to support each other through this pandemic and I am glad to be here,” said customer Elaine.

Lehman runs her business online as well as in-store, but says business always booms when customers can roam freely through the store.

‘Oh my goodness our business grows. Honestly I’m just so grateful to be open, it could pretty much do anything and I’d still be here.”

Hair salons in the city can now operate at half-capacity.

Carla McGilton, manager of Salon Entrenous, says clients are calling around the clock for a last-minute touch-up.

‘We have been over the top with phone calls it has been incredibly busy.”

McGilton says the team is working hard to make up for lost time.

“We started cancelling clients on Dec. 23 (2020), so it has pushed clients all the way to March and April. Everyone is just really pleased to be back and working hard to get their clients in as soon as possible.”

Salon EntrenousA hairstylist works on a client's hair at Salon Entrenous in London, Ont. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (Jordyn Read/CTV London)

Malls were also given the green light to open with restrictions.

At White Oaks Mall, it is the first time Londoners can shop inside since Christmas Eve.

Manager of Charm Diamond Centre, Sue Hammond, says she’s ecstatic to see customers walk through once more.

“Absolutely fantastic. Customers are excited they’re in. Jewellery is emotion, they love to come in and touch and feel and try it all on and make sure everything is perfect.”

For more information on how the red-control zone regulations may impact you, click here.

Province still recommends staying home

While the stay-at-home order has been lifted, the province continues to recommend leaving your home only for essential reasons for those living in red zones.

Not visiting other households and avoiding social gatherings is also encouraged.

Indoor gatherings are discouraged and remain capped at five people. Outdoor gatherings are also not recommended and are capped at 25 people.

The restrictions under red are expected to be in place for at least two weeks before being reassessed.

Here are some of the restrictions that took effect in Middlesex-London and Elgin-Oxford on Tuesday:


  • supermarkets , convenience stores and pharmacies open at 75 per cent capacity
  • all other retail at 50 per cent capacity, including big box, liquor, hardware and garden stores
  • capacity limit and signs advising not to enter if you have COVID-19 symptoms must be posted publicly
  • only non–adjacent fittings rooms open
  • maximum of 10 patrons seated in mall food courts

Restaurants and bars

  • 10 people allowed indoors where distancing allows, maximum of four per table with two metres or an impermeable barrier between tables
  • no buffet-style service
  • patrons must be screened and contact information collected
  • face coverings required except when eating and drinking
  • workers must wear PPE, including eye protection when coming with two metres of someone not wearing face covering
  • no liquor served after 9 p.m., establishments must close by 10 p.m.
  • no dancing, singing or live music
  • night clubs and strip clubs can only operate as restaurant or bar

Sports and recreation

  • no contact, maintain two metres distancing at all times or three metres around weights, equipment or in exercise/fitness class
  • where distancing can be maintained, 10 people allowed indoors or 25 outdoors, no spectators except one guardian for those under 18
  • reservations required and patrons can remain for maximum of 90 minutes unless playing a sport
  • training only allowed for team sports, no games or scrimmage
  • exceptions for high-performance athletes and parasport
  • face covering required except when exercising
  • patrons must be screened and contact information collected

Personal service

  • no services requiring removal of face coverings is allowed
  • oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, bath houses, most sensory deprivation pods and other adult venues closed
  • patrons must be screened and contact information collected

Other businesses and events

  • organized public gatherings can include a maximum five people indoors, 25 outdoors
  • religious services can operate at 30 per cent capacity indoors, 100 people outdoors
  • casinos, bingo halls and gaming can open with 10 people indoors, 25 outdoors, no table gaming, no liquor served after 9 p.m., no liquor consumption after 10 p.m., patrons must be screened and contact information collected
  • cinemas closed except for drive-ins, rehearsal and performance of recorded/broadcast events allowed with restrictions

Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex also reopened in red, while areas covered by Huron-Perth Public Health, Lambton Public Health and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit reopened in the orange-restrict zone, while Grey-Bruce falls into the yellow-protect zone.

Full details of the provincial framework and rules in each zone are available here.

- With files from CTV's Justin Zadorsky and Amanda Taccone