The Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) at The Banks opens Thursday at 11:00 a.m.
The DORA is an 85-acre district from Paul Brown Stadium to Heritage Bank Center and to the south sidewalk of Second Street and the north sidewalk of Mehring Way.
Within the district, guests can purchase alcoholic beverages in a DORA cup from participating bars, restaurants and attractions and walk freely. However, DORA cups will not be allowed at Smale Riverfront Park, parking areas, or on the Cincinnati Bell Connector.
DORA cups from a bar, restaurant or attraction in the District cannot be taken across the threshold of another bar, restaurant or attraction.
Freedom Way from Joe Nuxhall Way to Walnut Street will be closed permanently to vehicular traffic. Tracy Schwegmann works for Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate, which manages roughly 90% of the retail space at The Banks. She says that section of Freedom Way is closed more often than it's not.
"Whether that's for vehicular traffic reasons surrounding a Reds game or a special event that's being held in the area, or just on even a regular Friday and Saturday night when there's so much restaurant and bar traffic and cars and Ubers and everything else kind of coming down into the area, it's become a bit of a safety issue quite frankly," Schwegmann said.
The district opens as daily COVID-19 cases seem to be 'plateauing' in Hamilton County. However, precautions will be taken in the DORA. Bars and restaurants are still following COVID guidelines until the restrictions lessen. Schwegmann says they will have extra law enforcement on duty to ensure social distancing measures are taken.
"Beyond just the bars and the restaurants where seating is still somewhat restricted, we do have a number of large public gathering areas to give people some of those public areas to spread out a little bit and still enjoy being out and being together," Schwegmann said.
DORA cup sales go from 11 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. The district closes at 1 a.m.
Editor's note: A previous version of the story indicated that the DORA district would close at midnight. The story has been corrected to indicate that DORA cup sales end at midnight.