During a press conference Friday morning at The Betsy Hotel on South Beach, state and local officials - as well as business people from the area - got the news they had been waiting to hear: the last so-called "Zika Zone" is no longer in exsistence.
Governor Rick Scott made the announcement, clearing the zone between 8th Street and 28th Street on Miami Beach. It will be the fourth zone lifted in Miami- Dade County since the outbreak started this summer.
Scott called it an "interesting year" for the area in the fight against the outbreak, while officials - including the state's surgeon general, Dr. Celeste Philip - advised people to stay active in the fight against the disease - saying the influx of tourists over the winter means infected people may still be coming to the area.
"Mosquito control is a year-round responsibility," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement. "We continue to rely on everyone who lives in or travels to Miami-Dade to help us stop the spread of Zika by draining any standing water, wearing mosquito repellant, and covering up with long sleeves and pants when going outdoors."
"It resonated internationally and had an impact on Basel, on local economy, for maybe an extended period of time for about six months and we're hoping it doesn't resonate any further," Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco said.
Zones in the Wynwood and Little River sections of Miami as well as one from 28th Street to 63rd Street have been lifted over the course of the last two months. A transmission zone gets removed when there are no new cases confirmed over a 45 day period.
The Centers for Disease Control have still maintained an advisory for pregnant woman to avoid the Miami area, one that has been in effect since the summer and has been fought by city and county officials as well as business leaders in the areas where “Zika Zones” were placed.
Friday's announcement is welcome news to the producers of the South Beach Jazz Festival, which kicks off this weekend.
"Fantastic. Well we deserve a break and it's gonna be a great event and we don't have to worry about anything except some great music," producer David New said.