How Is the Zika Virus Affecting Restaurants in Wynwood?

How Is the Zika Virus Affecting Restaurants in Wynwood?

By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor

Zika. Is this mosquito-borne virus a mere buzzword rampaging the news, or it is actually sucking the life out of businesses in South Florida? Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami famous for its rich culture, one that is as colorful and diverse as the art, music, fashion, and flavorful cuisine visitors find in its streets, has become what The New York Times calls the "Ground Zero for the Zika Virus."

While the virus was discovered decades ago and was found to be primarily spread by mosquito bites that occurred during international travel, with pregnant women able to pass the infection and the serious fetal brain defects that come with it onto their unborn children, Zika's sudden resurgence on media outlets has valid cause for alarm — the cases identified in late July were locally-transmitted. From Palm Beach County to Miami-Dade County, the total number tallies up to 21 people newly diagnosed with the virus. Of those, the Florida Health Department announced that 18 were documented in Wynwood. As a result, the CDC released as travel-advisory warning, urging travelers in and out of the redlined, no-go zone to take precaution.

This less than one-square-mile district, normally crammed with creativity, is now the hotbed of active transmissions. And Wynwood's hot restaurant scene, the bloodline of the community, is now running dry. Prominent outdoor concepts, such as The Wynwood Yard, and the Miami Culinary Tours, which guide guests as they explore the restaurant and art around the city, are indefinitely closed for business. Still, there are others that are saying that it's all business as usual.

So, which is it? Is this active virus warning hitting South Florida tourism and the restaurant industry hard? Or are guests disregarding this issue with a simple swat of their hands? Foodable took to the streets of Wynwood (armed with a whole 'lotta repellent spray) to see how consumers and operators are trying to avoid bugging out.

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