^
Keep New Times Free
4

Tour Bus Cancels Wynwood Stops Over Zika Fears

Wynwood's transformation from scrappy artist haven to full-on tourist attraction has been swift. And one of the surest signs of the switch came when the big, open-air tour buses began stopping outside Wynwood Walls and disgorging hordes of camera-toting visitors to wander the murals.

Zika, though, is threatening to bring that tourism boom to a screeching halt thanks to the CDC's new warning that pregnant women should avoid the area. Now, one of those bus companies has announced that its fleet will no longer stop in Wynwood.

"When I heard the news yesterday, I just wanted to be proactive about it," says Gus Moore, director of the Miami Tour Company. "Rather than putting people in a position where they're going to be worried about taking the tour, we just said, we're going to make a policy not to stop in Wynwood for now."

Wynwood has made national news for all the wrong reasons since the CDC announced over the weekend it had traced multiple locally transmitted Zika cases to the neighborhood — the first such cases in America. At the last count, 14 people have now been infected in the area. (A 15th case announced last night was transmitted elsewhere in Miami.) 

The tour company's move is the latest sign that Wynwood businesses will have a major reckoning to face while trying to stay afloat amid America's first locally transmitted Zika outbreak. Outdoor restaurants and bars in the area are scrambling to decide how to deal with the situation. 

Moore says he is waiting for city and state leaders to come up with a better solution to address the spread of zika. 

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

"The city needs to jump on this and provide some solutions," Moore says. "To me, this could have the kind of effect that the German tourist shootings had in early '90s. People will question coming here. They need to do something about it soon because it's going to be very bad for business."

Wynwood business groups, though, said they believe tourists shouldn't be deterred from coming to the area.

“The community of Wynwood will do whatever is necessary to be vigilant in our prevention and will follow the guidelines outlined by the Florida Department of Health," Goldman Properties CEO Jessica Goldman Srebnick and Wynwood Business Improvement District chairman Joseph Furst said in a statement to the media yesterday. "Wynwood's restaurants, galleries, retailers, and art-filled streets remain open for business."

Indeed, Big Bus Miami — a competitor of the Miami Tour Company — is still running its tours through Wynwood, a company operator tells New Times.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.