Pilot Program: Open Consumption District

Pilot Program: Open Consumption District

This pilot program is a key component of the Fayetteville Outdoor Refreshment Area (ORA) ordinance, which enables the City of Fayetteville to explore if an open consumption district is a good fit for our downtown. Due to the economic and public health crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilot program will enable bars and restaurants to conduct sales in a safer manner and enable patrons to support these businesses outside.

What is the status of the pilot program? 

City staff presented the final pilot program to City Council at Agenda Session on July 14, 2020 following the special City Council Meeting. The Pilot program will begin on July 22, 2020 and take place seven days a week from 10AM-10PM. The expansion of days to seven days a week came at the request of numerous business from across the pilot program area.  

Pilot Program Area

The pilot program area was developed in close coordination with downtown businesses and the Fayetteville Police Department. Its four-sided design is aimed at making the boundary not only simple to understand, but also easy to enforce. The pilot program proposes an area between the streets of Watson to the north, Mountain Street to the south, East Ave to the east, and West Ave to the west. Approved routes outside of the four-sided area ensure businesses west of West Ave, and in the Mill District can participate in making to-go sales. The size of the district aims to be inclusive of as many businesses as possible given the current economic crisis. 

What do the green lines mean? The green lines annotate the primary pilot program area where alcoholic beverages in designated cups can be consumed by attendees. It’s four primary sides are designed to make understanding the boundary easy. 

What do the green dashed lines mean? The green dashed lines are also in the pilot program area, these routes aim to expand the ability for businesses to sell "to-go" ORA cups to patrons. As an example, residents could walk from the Square to the Mill District and vice versa and possess and consume alcohol in designated ORA cups. 


What dates and times?

During the development of the Outdoor Refreshment Area ordinance and phasing plan, beginning the Open Consumption District pilot program on slower days of the week was proposed as a means to increase sales on the slow days. City staff felt it was important to maintain consistency with what was originally proposed by starting the program on Sunday-Wednesday. Many businesses have requested the program be extended to seven days a week due to the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Staff surveyed bars, restaurants, performance venues and anchor institutions in June following the adoption of the ordinance. Due to the requests of numerous businesses and a local anchor institution through the survey process, as well as support from the Dickson Street Merchants Association, the program was expanded to begin with seven days a week. 

Start Date: July 22, 2020

Days of Operation: Weekly, Sunday-Saturday

Proposed Times: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 

What are the rules of the pilot program?

The rules of the pilot program are simple. The rules are also rooted in City law pursuant to the Outdoor Refreshment Area ordinance. 

Proposed Rules for patrons of the Open Consumption District Pilot Program:

  1. ORA Cups must be kept within the program area--look for the boundary signs.  
  2. ORA drinks are allowed Sunday-Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 
  3. You cannot take an ORA cup into another establishment serving alcohol; you cannot enter a non-alcohol serving business with an ORA cup without that business’s permission.  
  4. Don’t litter. Cups must be disposed of in a designated receptacle. 
  5. Don’t loiter, its a violation of Arkansas law. 
  6. Don’t give your ORA alcoholic beverage to anyone else, even if they are 21 years of age or older. 
  7. Don’t bring in alcoholic beverages from outside the district to consume in ORA cups. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased from participating businesses within the ORA and consumed in designated cups. 
  8. All City and State of Arkansas laws pertaining to alcohol still apply. 
  9. Drink responsibly and enjoy downtown Fayetteville! 

Proposed Rules for businesses participating in the Open Consumption District Pilot Program:

  1. Patrons who purchase a drink to be consumed outside of the establishment will be I.D.’d to verify they are of legal drinking age and given a designated wrist band by the business.
  2. If a patron enters a bar with a wristband on which they obtained from another business, the business shall I.D. the patron to confirm legal drinking age.
  3. ORA Cups can only be sold during the designated times of 10AM-10PM, seven days a week.]
  4. Businesses can charge a fee for an ORA cup and wrist band if they wish but are not required to do so.
  5. Alcoholic Beverages sold for the purpose of being consumed outside of the establishment shall be within a designated ORA Cup.

How does an alcohol-serving business within the ORA sign up to serve to-go in the pilot program?

Businesses who wish to serve to-go during the pilot program are asked to email the Department of Economic Vitality by clicking here. We will be scheduling a few orientation sessions to go over the logistics and rules. Not sure if you want to participate right away? That is perfectly fine. You may apply to participate after the pilot program begins. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

  • When will the pilot program begin? 
    • The Pilot Program will begin on July 22, 2020.
  • When does the pilot program end?
    • Currently, the ordinance states the pilot program shall sunset on January 31, 2021. Though the sunset date will need to be extended, no long-term decisions regarding public alcohol consumption should be made until the program can be assessed under conditions of full capacity in Downtown. Due to the pandemic, when that time will be is unknown.
  • Why is there a sunset clause ending the pilot program?
    • We are going to learn a lot during the pilot program. The sunset enables the City to reconvene businesses, stakeholders, anchor institutions, and the Fayetteville Police Department to discuss how the program went, identify changes, and propose a new ordinance to the City Council. This ordinance was carefully crafted in close coordination with businesses; the sunset clause is a commitment to continue to utilize their expertise and knowledge to shape this ordinance. 
  • What do the ORA cups look like and how big are they?
    • The ORA cup design will be posted soon. There are 16-ounce and 12-ounce options. The City has ordered 55,000 cups to launch the program. 
  • Can I take an ORA cup into an event area without the event organizer’s consent?
    • No. ORA cups cannot be taken into an event area unless the event organizer has stated and posted that they are welcome. This decision is up to the event organizers. 
  • What about litter and waste in downtown? How will that be managed?
    • The Department of Economic Vitality has worked closely with the Sustainability Department to distribute more waste receptacles throughout the pilot program area. Ten areas have been identified where additional recycling receptacles will be placed. More recycling receptacles will be placed as needed.