Today’s special in restaurants across Wynwood: Hold the Zika.
Gov. Rick Scott will lead a troop of politicians, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, to Wynwood restaurants Friday for Dine Out Wynwood, a one-day dining event to celebrate the end of the mosquito-disease-related travel restriction.
“I’ll be down at Dining Out Wynwood in the Wynwood area to try and get their retail business back,” Scott told reporters during a conference call Thursday.
More than 20 restaurants will offer dining deals throughout the day to entice diners back to the community after the governor declared Wynwood “Zika free,” meaning no locally born Zika cases have been reported in the last 45 days. The full list of restaurants participating can be found at MiamiAndBeaches.com and Facebook.com/WynwoodMiami. Restaurants are tagging their specials on social media with the hashtag #DineOutWynwood.
“We’re open, we’re Zika-free, and I hope people will come rediscover Wynwood,” said Albert Garcia, vice chair of the Wynwood business improvement district.
The Zika stigma had been a shock to Wynwood businesses, particularly restaurants, since health officials first identified a one-square-mile section of Wynwood on July 29 as the nation’s first where mosquitoes were spreading Zika.
No restaurant went out of business during the economic drought caused by being named the first U.S. site of locally transmitted Zika. But the Wynwood Yard and Miami Culinary Tours did suspend business for several weeks, and the Yard had at least one employee test positive for Zika.
“Zika who?” reads a sign in the window at the Wynwood restaurant Kush, where business was down more than 40 percent from last year during the travel advisory, said owner Matt Kuscher. But since the governor’s announcement that Wynwood is Zika free, business has shot back up, he said.
“It really was just withstanding the storm and trying to make everyone as comfortable as possible,” Kuscher said.
Scott has visited Wynwood at least three times during the Zika scare, including more than one trip to Zak the Baker. He will tour several restaurants Friday afternoon, while other politicians will pop in throughout the day.
“He’s going to do sort of a Wynwood crawl,” Garcia joked. “For those who haven’t been to the area, we’re excited to show them what Wynwood is all about.”