'It's Too Hot To Wear Long Sleeves:' Miami Beach Carries On After Zika Announcement

Aug 19, 2016

Early Friday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott announced that the area between Eighth Street and 28th Street in Miami Beach is an active zone of Zika transmission, with five non-travel-related case of the virus linked to the city.

However daily life continued uninterrupted in Miami Beach – tourists lounged along Ocean Drive, and residents walked their dogs with tank tops and shorts on.

“I actually need to get the bug spray, long sleeves, but it’s kind of hot to wear long sleeves,” says Silvina Peres, a massage therapist who has been living in Miami Beach for almost a year.

She says she was taken aback by the news.

“Unbelievable. I can’t believe it actually,” she says. “I read it and I was shocked.”

Peres says she is particularly worried about what schools are doing to protect children from the disease because she has a 9-year-old son herself.

Thirty-three year old Farren Lloyd is a tourist in Miami Beach from Los Angeles, where he works as a data analyst. He says he had been taking precautions against Zika before coming to the Miami area.

“I’ve got bug spray on, been keeping the window of the apartment closed when we’re inside at night, but you’ve just got to carry on. What are you going to do?” he says.

Tourists as well as residents of Miami Beach were critical of the state’s and the city’s handling of the outbreak.

Arielys Reyes is a retail manager working on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. She says she is not satisfied with the amount of information she has been receiving from local authorities.

"I see only the New York Times getting the information, newspapers from outside Miami. So it's like what's happening with the newspapers from here?” she says. “We don't get enough information when you live over here. That's what really worries me"

Reyes says she feels Rick Scott and other state officials have been inconsistent in their messaging.

"[They] just deny and then they agree that…everything is safe until it's not safe,” she says. “If its not safe, lets be honest, its not safe."

While the Center for Disease Control is advising pregnant women to avoid travel to Miami Beach, for now, businesses in the city are operating as usual.