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Mayor: Wynwood Art Events Are Safe, Ready With Bug Repellent

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County officials announced that it was safe to attend the monthly Wynwood art festival following the area's link to Zika cases.

Volunteers will be handing out bug repellent and pamphlets about preventing mosquito bites to those attending events Saturday evening, according to a statement from the mayor's office.

"We are under a little bit of a scare, which it's not really," said Miguel Aguilar of Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. "People just need to be conscientious of what's going on and protect themselves."

It's been a rough few weeks for Wynwood after reports of the first locally-transmitted cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. originated in the popular artsy enclave.

28 cases have been reported in Miami-Dade, most of those coming in Wynwood.

As word and the virus spread, the huge crowds of locals and visitors from all over the world slowed. Restaurants, shops and art galleries have been feeling the sting.

"You can definitely see the decline in business," said Aguilar. "There's still a lot of tourists around. I think most of the people staying away is the local community, which I feel should be the ones out here supporting us."

The county has been spraying pesticides throughout the one square-mile area early in the mornings.

"I do think things started to pick up this week significantly more from last week," said the Marine Layer's Shane Sumbu. "Things were definitely slow last week with it just being introduced. I think as time is going on and people are not seeing people they're close to being affected, we're less fearful of it."

But the hope is Saturday night's Art Walk, held the second Saturday of each month with tours of the uniquely eclectic neighborhood, will be the huge hit it always is.

"Artwalk is an incredible thing that doesn't happen anywhere in the world," said Aguilar.

And businesses are taking measures to ensure that happens, optimistic that it can and will.

"We have a nice concert going on from 8 p.m. to 4 in the morning, in addition to what happens," Aguilar added. "So all the different businesses throughout the neighborhood, along with Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, and Joey's, have come together with promotional offerings for the neighborhood and people outside the neighborhood. Things like, if you go to another store and then come here, we'll give you free food and salsa. Other places are offering 20 percent off your check. Things of that nature to kind of help pull back the community."

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