BARRIE, ONT. -- COVID-19 case numbers across Simcoe County continue to climb, along with speculation that the region will move into Ontario's red zone.

Barrie Chamber of Commerce president Todd Tuckey said the harsh reality would likely happen sooner rather than later.

"If it isn't this week or next week, the way the numbers are increasing, we're definitely heading to that area," Tuckey said.

But if or when Simcoe Muskoka feels the tightening of the reigns remains the provincial government's decision.

Tuckey said with the surging infection rates the province could shift the region directly into a lockdown, much like Toronto.

"Unfortunately, they have the option to take us right to grey, which would be detrimental to the area. It would be incredibly hard," he said.

The grim news has business owners holding their breaths.

"Let's pray that we don't hit the grey zone cause that would be awful," said Kenzington Burger Bar general manager Kimberly Robinson.

The red zone under the province's colour-coded framework restricts establishments to just 10 people indoors at a time.

"I'm hoping we can get those people in and out periodically during the day and do most of it through takeout. I mean, we got to survive, right," Robinson said.

The Party Store owner, Brian Tracey, said he's doing everything possible to keep his business going, hoping it's enough.

"Shutting us down right before Christmas will be devastating for all local businesses," Tracey added.

The province should announce by Friday whether Simcoe Muskoka will advance to the red or grey zone.