Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado walked the streets of Wynwood Wednesday afternoon, attempting to reassure residents and would-be travelers that Wynwood is safe to visit after the CDC advised pregnant women not to go there because of the Zika virus.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 15 local Zika cases had been confirmed by state health officials, with the majority of those coming from Wynwood. Zika, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can lead to babies being born with birth defects, including smaller heads and brains that do not fully develop.
“My plan is to say to the people of South Florida and residents that Wynwood is open for business, and also to say what the City of Miami is doing and has been doing,” Regalado said. “This is just a cluster and Gov. [Rick Scott] told me they have been testing 1,000 mosquitoes a day and have not found a single one that is contaminated.”
Regalado expressed concern that Wynwood has been unfairly portrayed as an outbreak area for the Zika virus and said he hoped to quell the fears of both residents and any tourists visiting the area.
“I spoke today for a long time with Governor Scott and he is concerned like I am that Wynwood has been singled out around the world as ‘ground zero.’ That is not the case. Wynwood is safe.”
Regaldo was referring to an advisory from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which said on Monday that pregnant women should not travel to Wynwood due to the Zika virus. It was the first time that the CDC has warned against travel to any area within the continental United States.
Since then, Wynwood Yard, an outdoor venue for dining, parties and events, has closed until further notice and several walking and culinary tours have been canceled.