Downtown Kent’s DORA goes live Friday

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A DORA recycling bin outside Fresco Mexican Grill & Salsa Bar in downtown Kent. 

Maria McGinnis, editor-in-chief, Troy Pierson, reporter

Main Street Kent and the City of Kent have worked together for the past several weeks to implement the new DORA, a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, in Kent’s downtown district. 

The DORA will allow licensed establishments to sell alcoholic beverages to patrons 21 and older for outdoor consumption in a designated area. Program materials have been distributed and proper signage is in place for implementation on Friday, July 17 beginning at noon. 

The DORA will be active seven days a week, from noon to 10 p.m., with bars and restaurants ending service of DORA beverages at 9:30 p.m. 

“We’ve considered and researched the DORA concept over the past year, and with the impact of COVID-19 on our businesses and community, we found this to be the right time to give it a try,” said executive director of Main Street Kent Heather Malarcik. “Bars and restaurants now have limited capacities with occupancy and seating restrictions, so this will give them an opportunity to serve more customers.”

Malarcik also said the DORA will provide the Kent community with other options to get out of the house that they may be more comfortable with.

“The DORA will allow them the option to buy an adult beverage and take it outside to enjoy on a bench, at a picnic table, or as they peruse the downtown, rather than being confined to the walls of an establishment or even a patio,” Malarcik said. “This will allow the breathing room we all need right now.”

The boundaries of the DORA cover 33.25 acres. The boundaries also cover the commercial district of downtown Kent along East Main Street, not including the fraternities. 

The Kent City Council will evaluate the DORA after a 90-day trial period to determine its continued usage. 

Important information to know regarding the new DORA: 

  • Beverages must be served in a DORA cup, and the purchaser must wear a DORA wristband, for easy identification by law enforcement.

  • DORA beverages purchased at one liquor establishment may not be taken into another.

  • DORA cups are recyclable and should be placed in a recycling container outside of any participating DORA establishment.

  • Alcoholic beverages purchased outside the DORA may not be brought into the DORA for consumption. 

  • Businesses in the downtown area that do not sell DORA beverages have the option to permit them inside, and have been provided a decal for their front window/door indicating “DORA Drinks Welcome” or “DORA Drinks Not Permitted.” 

Full program information is available at https://www.mainstreetkent.org/dora/.

Contact Maria McGinnis at [email protected] and Troy Pierson at [email protected]