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UPDATE: Marietta City Council approves proposal to allow limited outdoor consumption of alcoholic beverages

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Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 2:35 PM EST
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UPDATE: 4/30/2021

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Earlier this year, Marietta Main Street, in partnership with the Mayor’s office, submitted a proposal to the Marietta City Council that would allow for a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) downtown. The City Council voted on and approved the proposal on Thursday.

The proposal now requires final approval at the state level. Once that approval is received, the DORA will allow customers to purchase alcoholic beverages from participating bars and restaurants, and then to take those drinks with them outside and into other participating eateries and retail shops. This exception to Ohio’s open container law will be permitted between 5 P.M. and 10 P.M. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Marietta Main Street hopes the DORA will officially be in place in time for June’s First Friday events.

Bars and restaurants within the DORA boundaries are now asked to reach out to Marietta Main Street to sign up to participate in the program. All qualifying establishments will automatically receive the DORA designation with no additional fees, courtesy of the Division of Liquor Control, and will be required to abide by all local ordinances.

Beverages intended to be taken out of the bars and restaurants will be required to be served in approved DORA cups, and customers will pay $1 per beverage to help establishments cover the cost of the cups. All DORA cups will be compostable.

Only beverages from participating establishments, served in DORA cups, will be permitted on the downtown streets. Visitors to downtown will not be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages brought from home or purchased at other locations while outdoors.

Marietta Main Street has been promoting the DORA because it believes it will draw additional business to the downtown area.

“In other DORA communities in Ohio, they’ve seen an increase in revenue for downtown businesses, both bars and retailers, and an increase in tourism through their towns,” said Cristie Thomas, executive director of Marietta Main Street. “For us, not only is it a quality of life tool that allows residents to enjoy our community even more, but it’s also an economic tool that will draw folks in from out of town to stay the night, shop local, dine local, and spend more money than maybe they would have,” she added.

Marietta Main Street will soon be providing the full details of the rules and regulations of DORA on its website.

ORIGINAL STORY: 3/12/2021

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Marietta Main Street, in partnership with the Mayor’s office, is submitting a proposal to the Marietta City Council that would allow for a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) downtown.

If approved, it would allow customers to purchase alcoholic beverages from participating bars and restaurants, and then to take those drinks with them outside and into other participating eateries and retail shops. This exception to Ohio’s open container law would be permitted between 5 P.M. and 10 P.M. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Participating retailers would display decals notifying customers that DORA beverages are permitted.

The DORA would encompass the downtown area of Marietta, and would also include some businesses on the west side of town, such as the Harmar Tavern, the Busy Bee, and Spagna’s.

According to Marietta Main Street, the primary advantages are that it would attract more business to downtown Marietta, and it would help to reduce crowds inside bars and restaurants during the pandemic.

“It would certainly allow folks to support small businesses, especially during COVID, with occupancy limitations that downtown bars and restaurants still have to follow,” said Cristie Thomas, executive director of Marietta Main Street. “And of course, the longer folks stay in a shopping area, the more likely they are to spend money. Being able to finish a drink while you’re strolling downtown, and to enter a retail shop or go to another bar...that’s more revenue that we’re keeping with downtown small businesses,” she added.

The proposal also has the support of the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In order for the proposal to be approved, the Marietta City Council must vote in favor of it. Marietta Main Street hopes the vote will take place by Memorial Day weekend. The date of the vote has not been determined, but it will likely take place within the next 60 days.

Additional information about the DORA proposal can be found on Marietta Main Street’s website, here.

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