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People in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood hope for return to normalcy after being declared Zika free

Posted at 11:21 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 00:01:44-04

Wynwood is known as ground zero for Zika - the first place in the U.S. where mosquitoes began transmitting the virus. 

Folks there are hoping to shed that image - and get back to what they do best. 

In a neighborhood that is anything but ordinary, the desire for a return to normalcy can be felt everywhere you walk in Wynwood. 

“My checks have been having Zika recently,” says Gabriel Pinto with restaurant GK Bistromony.

Pinto says Since Zika found its way into Wynwood, his business and others have suffered,  with the Centers for Disease Control implementing a travel ban on August 1st. 

31 non travel related cases were associated with the neighborhood. 

Officials, however, credit aerial spraying for turning around that trend -with no new cases reported in Wynwood since last month.  

Pinto thinks customers are just starting to respond. 

“The last two days, our business has gone up 35%,” Pinto says.

Then came the word from Governor Rick Scott on Monday - Wynwood is Zika free. 

The announcement renewed optimism for both businesses and tourists. 

RELATED: MORE ZIKA COVERAGE

“We have long sleeve shirts and bug spray on, but we haven't seen a mosquito since we've been here,” says Meghan Buford, who is visiting Wynwood from Denver. “I was nervous, but I'm not anymore.”

That return to relative normalcy hopefully soon a reality in Wynwood. 

“I would love to see these businesses come out of this, Buford says. “Hopefully it'll bring people back to this community.” 

Several people we spoke to say the publicity the city received could actually benefit Wynwood in the long run. 

They say with images of the uniquely painted walls and culture being seen nationally, it may actually draw people in this winter season.

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