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Gov. Scott Visits Zika-Free Wynwood To Help Boost Business

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Wynwood is now Zika free and people are returning to the neighborhood, including the governor.

Gov. Rick Scott was in the art district Friday night for Dine Out Wynwood.

"So many people are depending on jobs here – these retail businesses, the galleries, in the restaurants," Gov. Scott said. "So it's really important that we continue to come out here tonight. So Dine Out Wynwood night is a big deal. We've got to get these businesses back to work."

It's an event to get residents and tourist back to the neighborhood, and the governor's presence was supposed to be a message that Wynwood is open for business.

"It's a celebration to have the governor here. We've all worked very hard with the appropriate mediation that took place on the mosquitoes and it was very hard to bring people back to this neighborhood," said Joseph Furst.

Several restaurants, bars and galleries had special deals for customers.

Wynwood has seen far less people for months because of the outbreak of Zika.

But Gov. Scott declared Wynwood Zika free a couple of weeks ago, so now the concern turns to Miami Beach.

"Have you seen an increase in attendance?" CBS4's Vanessa Borge asked a Wynwood business owner.

"Yeah, I can't park my car now! You can always tell by the cars!" Ernie Vales said.

Vales can't park in front of his store and that's a good thing.

It means more people are visiting his art shop, EVLworld in Wynwood.

Zika 101: Prevent Spread By Protecting Yourself

After weeks of insecticide aerial spraying, Gov. Scott  declared the area Zika free.

But the threat still exists.

On Wednesday, Miami-Dade officials released the exact locations where Zika-positive mosquitoes were found on Miami Beach.

Traps Where Mosquitoes Tested Positive For Zika
Miami-Dade Mosquito control released the locations where mosquitoes tested positive for the Zika virus.

Florida remains the only state where mosquitoes are spreading Zika, specifically in a 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach between 8th Street and 63rd Street.

On Thursday, Congress finally approved $1.1 billion to be allocated toward combating Zika.

"We don't know when the money is going to come here. What we are going to get or we still have an impacted area on Miami Beach 4.5-square miles," Scott said.

Congress did determine the breakdown of the money.

  • $394 million will go toward mosquito control
  • $397 million for work on vaccines and better tests to diagnose Zika infections in people
  • $66 million to help people infected with Zika in U.S. territories – mostly Puerto Rico

Allocating that money quickly is the concern.

Sen. Marco Rubio met with local leaders at his office this morning to make that clear.

"This can't take 90 days for it to get here. What happens is all these states and interests see money and they want it. This money needs to go to Puerto Rico and in the state of Florida," Rubio said.

Business owners like Vales are relieved money was used to get Wynwood out of the Zika zone.

"It was tense, but we are glad we can build up to our busy season again," Vales said.

But with over 900 people infected this year in Florida, including over 90 pregnant women, the rush to fight Zika and cure it with this new funding is on.

Residents and businesses in Wynwood are now relieved that they are no longer part of the Zika-infected area.

Miami Beach is hoping for the same news.

But on Friday, the Florida Department of health announced 16 news cases, including one non-travel related case linked to Miami Beach.

Click here for more information on the Zika virus or here for more Zika-related stories.

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