CINCINNATI — Later today, Cincinnati will officially open a designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) at The Banks.
"DORA at the Banks" will create an open container district along the riverfront, closing a portion of Freedom Way and stretching from Paul Brown Stadium to Heritage Bank Arena.
The Cincinnati Police Department are preparing ahead of the opening, and said they don't think the DORA will be any different than patrolling big events or festivals in the city that include open container allowances, like Riverfest or Taste of Cincinnati.
For bars, it means a big weekend ahead after the difficulties the industry has suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think it's great that we have all this room, that people can spread out and enjoy that atmosphere without being crammed in," said Danny Scott, owner of Fishbowl at the Banks.
Scott said he's not particularly worried about people getting overly intoxicated while walking from bar to bar.
"In the bar business we're trained," he said. "We're all trained not to over-serve people, to make sure people can handle it. So for us, it's business as usual. It's just kind of an extension of what we already do."
CPD said, just in case, officers will be "present" and "visible" during the first few months of the district's operation.
"We'll make certain that we have extra detail officers down here, particularly for the first number of months, in addition to the normal patrols that are down here often times on a regular basis," said Tracy Schwegmann, with the Banks.
Cincinnati isn't the first city in the Tri-State area to have a DORA district; The Hamilton Police Department said it hasn't issued any citations for open container or disorderly conduct within its DORA since it began. The Wyoming Police Chief also said the city has had no problems with public intoxication because of its DORA.
"Our police have been working with the DORA, preparing for this," said Mayor John Cranley.
He said the opening will likely come with a learning curve for everyone.
"If I were to predict, there will be some, we'll have to work out some kinks along the way," he said. "Especially because we're still dealing with the pandemic, but we'll get there. We'll figure it out."
The important thing, Schwegmann said, is that people are responsible and learn the rules of the DORA district.
Patrons should make sure they're aware of the boundaries of the DORA district and where they can't have an open container, as well as the hours it operates: 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. each day.
"It's not BYOB, so please don't bring your own beverage," said Schwegmann. "You definitely need to purchase your beverage from a liquor establishment inside the Banks footprint and it needs to be in a DORA cup."
She said, with 85 acres included in the district, the DORA will go a long way toward helping businesses in the area and providing plenty of opportunities to socially distance.