This summer has turned out to be one of constant change, primarily driven by COVID-19. While statistical reporting of the pandemic has been questioned and challenged at both the state and federal levels, we have the best data from our Lake County General Health District. This information, along with weekly phone conferences with the health district provides the most reliable information for Lake County and, more specifically, Willoughby. As of the middle of July, Lake County saw the most cases per day occurring in late March and late May at 14 new cases per day. On July 18th, there was a spike to 56 cases reported in a single day. As of the middle of July, Willoughby had 95 total cases and seven deaths. Analysts look at these numbers and report findings in several ways but looking past the numbers, and it is evident that COVID-19 is real. We are wise to follow the recommended practices of wearing facial coverings when in public, practicing social distancing and washing hands frequently.
Concerns associated with the pandemic caused the cancellation of Last Stop Willoughby in early August and ArtsFest in late August. The Heart of Willoughby and Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce, sponsors of these events, expressed their disappointment over these cancellations. The City has also ceased our gazebo concerts. While we had implemented comprehensive safety measures, including limiting the audience and providing designated seating areas to ensure social distancing, the mid-July spike in cases caused concern for both the performers and our residents.
Some goods news this month relating to economic development include our downtown restaurants and merchants are reporting good sales while they manage through the governor’s pandemic requirements. We are also pleased that Lure Bistro is reopening as Allure under the guidance of Chef Nicholas Kustala. Nick was the original founder of Lure after he was the chef at Gavi’s. Nick has teamed up with Ed Trebetts, founder of a Willoughby based winery, Urban Vintner. Both Nick and Ed are known for the quality of their food and wine, and they add another fine-dining experience in Willoughby. Finally, the new Marc’s store at Euclid and Rt. 91, and the Marous Brothers headquarters building are progressing well. These two projects represent over forty million dollars of investment in our City.
As we enter the waning months of summer, we again ask you to check our city website and Facebook page for the most current information on city-sponsored events, meetings and other updates. Also, please remember to check the Willoughby-Eastlake School District website for information relating to back-to-school activities.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe.