Despite Zika concerns, Wynwood business owners hopeful in light of successful weekend

MIAMI (WSVN) - In light of recent Zika concerns, business owners in Wynwood are hopeful that business will increase in light of a successful weekend.

Art Walk, along with other incentives given out by Wynwood business, was enough to get a respectable amount of customers to visit the neighborhood, over the weekend. The only obstacle remaining is keeping the customers coming.

“I love walking around here,” said one woman. “Before I read about it, I was most scared because I didn’t know what it was, and I just saw these big warning things about it. It was more scary until I found out more.”

The streets saw more visitors than they have seen in weeks. “It’s exciting. There’s lots of entertainment. It’s a great atmosphere,” said one man.

Two non-travel related cases of Zika detected in Miami-Dade  have brought the number of those confirmed to be infected to 30.

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez also visited the neighborhood and had dinner, in attempts to bring visitors back to the area.

However, the kick-off for this month’s Art Walk was not without its problems. Concerned citizens protested the pesticides released in the air in efforts of controlling the mosquito population. “It’s long overdue to stop the spraying,” one protester said.

Protesters are concerned that the chemicals released by airplanes may be causing more harm than good. “The spraying is by mandate of the Health Department,” Regalado responded to the protester.

“We’ve been spraying now in this community for 40 years,” Gimenez said. “This is not something new.”

The county will likely spend nearly $8 million on efforts to fight mosquitoes. The mayor is asking to be reimbursed by the state and federal offices.

Wynwood could use the financial assistance as well. “Sales have been absolutely down,” said one business owner. “There’s definitely economic hardship that’s happened. These are small businesses. These are not chain stores, these aren’t national businesses that they have a slow week, they have a slow two weeks. It makes no real impact.”

Wynwood business owners now have to write to federal, state and local leaders in to receive funding or reimbursement for all of the lost business.

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