Mayor of Miami worries South Florida's tourism industry could suffer because of Zika publicity

Posted at 7:53 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 04:03:14-04

Stopping the spread of Zika in South Florida is top priority, but right behind that is stopped the fear that’s spreading with reports of Zika cases coming from mosquitoes in Miami. 

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado walked through Wynwood Village, which has been dubbed ground zero for Zika in the United States, with reporters from across the country Wednesday.

MAP: Tracking Zika cases in Florida | Special Section: Zika in Florida

“I’m here just to show to the people that's it's safe,” Mayor Regalado said.

The mayor also said he’s asking people to keep coming to the Wynwood Art District help support the 300 local businesses there.

"Wynwood has taken years to go from a deprived neighborhood to one of the Crown Jewels in South Florida,” Regalado said. “I think it's unfair that the CDC just sends a warning. I understand for pregnant women, but that's being misinterpreted as don't travel to Miami, don't go to Wynwood."

Miami police spent Wednesday passing out flyers with information about Zika to try and ease some worries in the area.

"Somebody who comes in who's a stranger, we're not strangers to them, they know us and we have relationships with them, so it's easier for us to be able to spread good, valuable information instead of the rumor mill,” said Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.

Officers are also handing out mosquito repellent to the homeless and going door-to-door with health officials from the CDC asking people who live in the area if they have symptoms and encouraging them to be tested.

"I don't personally don't feel the panic, but, you know, you do have to take precautions,” Chief Llanes said.