10 things to know about Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORAs) in Fort Wayne

Today city officials, in partnership with Downtown Fort Wayne, announced that its first Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORA) would open up on May 5 in downtown Fort Wayne. 

Within a designated outdoor refreshment area or DORA, patrons will be able to order alcoholic beverages from participating vendors and take their drinks with them in designated to-go cups as they stroll downtown. 

Here are 10 things to know about Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORA) ahead of the launch:

1. Fort Wayne has one DORA—and counting.
The Downtown DORA is just days away from its official launch, and another DORA at Electric Works was approved by Fort Wayne City Council in mid-April. The second DORA still needs approval from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, but it’s promising to see the City Council approving a second one so soon after the first because…

Details on the DORA.2. Up to seven DORAs can be implemented in the city.
… the groundwork is already being laid for even more DORAs in other zones throughout the city. According to the Indiana State Government, a municipality can establish up to seven DORAs within its jurisdiction. There is no minimum or maximum size required for the footprint of each DORA, but all of them must be within city limits.

3. There’s a limit to the number of drinks a person can carry within the DORA boundaries.
No juggling beverages here. At any given time, one person cannot take more than two drinks with them as they walk within the DORA footprint. The drinks must be in DORA cups.

4. Alcohol purchased outside of the DORA cannot be consumed in public areas within the DORA. 
The establishment of the DORA does not mean people can bring their own alcohol to public areas. DORA is part of a special ordinance enforceable by law, and only beverages purchased from approved vendors and carried in DORA cups are allowed. 

5. All open containers purchased within the DORA must stay within the DORA footprint and in DORA cups.
If people take their beverages outside the DORA boundary, it could result in law enforcement intervening, ticketing, or other measures. For example, taking a drink to your vehicle may constitute a class C infraction under IC §§ 9-30-15. Additionally, it is still against the law to be publicly intoxicated and for minors to consume alcohol. There will be disposal bins for cups along the boundary of the DORA to ensure that no one leaves the DORA footprint while still carrying their cups. 

6. DORA cups are recyclable, so they won’t contribute to increased waste in the city.
Downtown Fort Wayne is partnering with Brightmark to recycle the one-time-use DORA plastic cups and work toward more sustainable environmental practices. Brightmark is a circular innovation company with a mission to “Reimagine Waste.” Brightmark’s Circularity Centers™ will receive Fort Wayne’s plastic type one DORA cups and use them to generate new products, which keeps the cups out of landfills.

Designated Downtown Fort Wayne DORA to-go cups7. A DORA does not need to be continually renewed. 
On March 11, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission approved the establishment of the Downtown DORA. There are no continuous reviews or approvals needed for the DORA, so it can remain in effect unless the City of Fort Wayne decides to revoke it. 

8. There are 19 local establishments currently participating in the Downtown DORA.
Participation in the DORA isn’t automatic, so business owners must apply and be approved to take part. Luckily, vendors within the DORA footprint wasted no time in starting the application process. Participants in the Downtown DORA include: The Landing, Botanical Conservatory, PNC Plaza, JK O'Donnell's, Dash-In, Pint & Slice, Tolon, Copper Spoon, The side Car, Mercado, Papi's Pizza*, Nawa, Próximo, Ted’s Snacks & Bar, Night Train, Dana’s, Bistro Nota, The Porch Off Calhoun, and Marquee.

*Will be an approved vendor upon receiving final ATC approval.

9. Downtown Fort Wayne is currently working on a webpage where people can go to learn more about local DORAs.
If you’re a vendor who wants to learn more about becoming a DORA participant, or if you’re a patron who has questions about the rules and guidelines associated with the DORA, you’re in luck. Downtown Fort Wayne has a website in the works that will contain FAQs (for businesses and guests), examples of the DORA signage so you know what to expect, a map of the official DORA boundaries, and more. The website will be live this week at DoraintheFORT.com.

10. The Downtown DORA will become official just in time for Cinco de Mayo!
Gather some Friends this weekend and head to one of the above vendors that have been approved to participate in the DORA. You’ll be able to order a drink in one of the new DORA cups—and then take it with you to explore Downtown Fort Wayne. Keep your eyes open this week to see the new signage going up to identify the DORA’s boundaries.

Starting May 5, beverages can be purchased and carried in DORA cups between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m., seven days a week. The hours that patrons can purchase DORA beverages/cups from specific vendors depend on the vendor's hours of operation within that timeframe.
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Read more articles by Bailey Gerber.

Bailey Gerber has lived in northern Indiana for her entire life, and Fort Wayne is the place she feels most at home. She’s a freelance contributor for Input Fort Wayne (when she isn’t writing marketing materials for her day job). Bailey holds a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in creative writing.