Businesses Feeling Zika Sting Along Miami Beach

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Walking around Miami Beach, all looks normal.

On a busy Saturday night, there’s no indication that Zika is a concern for anyone. But, what the eye may see is very different from what some businesses are feeling when it comes to dollars and cents.

Just a couple of weeks after The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau reported record hotel occupancy, The Miami Herald reports the Fountainbleau has had its worst three weeks in 15 years. Another resort claims to have lost $100,000 in cancellations.

“We have to live with it and so we try and protect ourselves,” said Omar Osman, who attended a Zika education workshop at Home Depot in downtown Miami.

While visitors can choose to stay away, for those who live here, education is becoming necessary.

“Use any of these in the 10%, you’re going to get about 2 to 3 hours protection,” a workshop vendor explained about using bug repellent. “So you’ll just have to reapply more often.”

Saturday, The Miami Department of Health teamed up with the home improvement store at their Miami Biscayne Avenue location. Attendees got to ask the experts questions — and they had a lot of them.

“How long does it last, is it safe for children, how often do I have to reapply it,” said Jay Matthews, sales director for Spectracide, on what types of questions the community is asking.

He said people are getting informed about mosquitoes like they’ve never been before.

“There’s a lot of different things,” he said. “Zika, right now, of course, is very prevalent on a lot of newscasts, but you’ve got West Nile virus, chikungunya, a lot of different things. And this is just a great way for consumers to come and get educated on the different products and how to protect themselves.”

Meanwhile on Miami Beach, as the party dies down because of Zika fears, the battle over mosquitoes also becomes the battle over a stable economy.

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