A renewed push for a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in Tiffin has begun, marking the third time city leaders and business owners are trying to convince City Council to pass an ordinance allowing for a DORA.
The Laird Arcade Brewery (LAB) recently sent a letter to City Council requesting that they begin exploring the issue again.
According to Mayor Aaron Montz, the proposal for a DORA would have been presented earlier this year but was put on the back burner amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now, Montz says the proposal would be a good opportunity to get business flowing to local restaurants again.
A DORA would allow for alcoholic beverages to be consumed on sidewalks, city green space, and even alleys and parking lots in a designated area downtown.
“Once restaurants reopen, capacity will likely be greatly reduced due to social distancing requirements for space between tables and booths. Patrons will also not be able to wait inside the restaurant for tables to open, further complicating matters,” Montz said. “The DORA will allow bars and restaurants within the district to place additional seating outdoors to expand their capacity and help recoup what may have been lost revenue.”
Montz is encouraging City Council to pass the DORA proposal “at the earliest possible date to assist our businesses,” adding that the proposed ordinance would expire December 31, 2020, allowing for City Council to have the opportunity to take no action when it comes time to renew the DORA if they don’t like how a part of the program is going, or if they don’t like the DORA in general.
State law mandates a minimum of 30 days for a discussion period surrounding outdoor refreshment areas, meaning the earliest date the proposal could be passed and enacted into law for Tiffin would be June 22.