The Banks will officially launch its DORA, or designated outdoor refreshment area, Thursday morning.
It’s a permanent transformation. From 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., 365 days a year, people can roam The Banks with a drink in hand. The alcoholic drink must be in a DORA cup and purchased from a participating business.
Spokeswoman Tracy Schwegmann said the area is 85 acres.
“It stretches from the west side of Paul Brown Stadium to the east side of the Heritage Bank Center. Then, on the north side you have Second Street. Then on the south side, you have Mehring Way,” said Schwegmann.
There are nearly 20 businesses and four major venues that are DORA participants.
As bars and restaurants abide by COVID-19 restrictions, Fishbowl At The Banks owner Danny Scott said the DORA will help.
“Most of the time, we are turning away more people we can sit on Friday and Saturday nights. With the warm weather, that’s going to happen more. Now, we are going to at least be able to say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be a little bit of a wait, but enjoy your drink while you wait and take a walk,’” he said.
A portion of Freedom Way is permanently closed to traffic. In the coming months, more seating areas will appear.
Paige Krajicek thinks the DORA will bring people back out this summer.
“With the COVID rule of only having 10 guests, I feel like everyone has been restricted on going out. Maybe that will give everyone — with the warm weather coming and being able to get a drink at one place — I think it will really bring people out and give them a sense of freedom,” she said.
The DORA was designed with social distancing in mind. Eighty-five acres will allow people to spread out.
“This is a privilege; it’s not a right. It’s a privilege. We are hopeful folks will take it in that vein and enjoy it in a responsible fashion,” Schwegmann said.
Cincinnati Police said there will be a larger police presence the first few weekends. They’ll enforce masks, social distancing and DORA boundaries through verbal warnings.
DORA cups won’t be allowed on the streetcar, in parking garages or at Smale Riverfront Park.
Full Story: WKRC