Code compliance officials say Zika prevention efforts paying off

MIAMI (WSVN) - As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continued to clear blocks in Wynwood from the Zika Zone, the city’s code compliance officials said their efforts to stop the spread of the mosquito-borne virus are paying off.

The Miami Code Compliance Office has become the Zika prevention police in the trendy neighborhood. “In this area, it’s an emergency right now,” said Miami Code Compliance spokesperson Eli Gutierrez.

When it comes to violations that could lead to an increase in Wynwood’s mosquito population, officials are currently acting faster than ever to stamp them out. “For example, overgrown lots, any trash on the right of way, any standing puddles,” said Gutierrez. “Weeds, as well, overgrown grass, definitely, ’cause that might cause a surge.”

If the problem persists, officials said, they are handing out citations to homeowners and property owners, giving them a certain amount of time to take steps to remove the potential threat. “We’re very serious. It can start out anywhere from $250 to $500 a ticket per day,” said Gutierrez.

Their priority is to keep the mosquito population down. “Because of the issue right now, we’re giving them at least time as possible to get it corrected,” said Gutierrez.

For instance, a week ago, officials informed the owner of a vacant lot that they were in violation. There are about 30 such lots in the Wynwood area, and Miami Code Enforcement is keeping tabs on each one of them.

Officials cite Thursday’s announcement that the CDC has cleared four Wynwood blocks from the Zika Zone as a sign that all their efforts are leading to tangible results.

Officials said they are also doing their part to keep the mosquitoes to a minimum. “For example, our Public Works Department is sucking up any standing water. Our Solid Waste Department [is removing] any trash that’s found on our right of ways, picking it up as soon as possible,” said Gutierrez. “It’s impactful for the betterment [of the community]. Our constituents are working with us. They understand the severity, and it’s a team effort.”

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