The Oregon District Business Association (ODBA) announced Out on 5th, a new program to support expanded outdoor seating and offer more opportunities for social distancing. Beginning Labor Day weekend on Friday, Sept. 4, Fifth Street will close to vehicular traffic between Patterson Boulevard and Wayne Avenue. “Businesses are only able to operate at half capacity as a result of coronavirus precautions, but creating a pedestrian mall along Fifth Street will increase service for bars, restaurants, and even retailers,” said Emily Mendenhall, owner of Lily’s and ODBA board member.
The weekend closures will feature acoustic music and other entertainment, special sales events, and amenities to elevate the guest experience. Out on 5th will continue every weekend through the end of October during this pilot phase. The pedestrian promenade will begin around 5 pm Friday and continue through 10 pm Sunday.
Expanding outdoor dining is one of many objectives that comprise local small business relief efforts. “Carry-out orders help, but the reality is these local businesses aren’t able to serve as many customers in order to comply with the latest health and safety guidelines,” said Downtown Dayton Partnership President Sandra Gudorf. “Having extra outdoor dining options gives patrons more opportunities to support our small businesses, and the street closures allow our local retailers to pop out onto the sidewalks with ample space to browse while remaining socially distant.”
Along with the street closures, the Oregon District will be able to safely enact the new Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA), which allows patrons to purchase an alcoholic beverage served in a branded cup and relax outdoors in the pedestrian mall. Guests can choose to dine at their favorite Fifth Street businesses and receive table service at specially marked tables, or enjoy a beverage in the DORA cup at one of the public tables offered throughout the street. Guests must finish their DORA beverage and dispose of the cup before entering a new pub or restaurant, or they can sip while they shop at participating retail businesses that allow DORA cups. “Look for the sticker on the door,” said Kyle Babriad, owner of Canary Consulting and president of the ODBA. “Every business will be very clearly marked with signage indicating whether you can take your DORA cup inside (if it’s a retailer) or whether DORA beverages are sold there (if it is a bar or restaurant).”
During Out on 5th, ODBA businesses will continue their rigorous standards of cleaning facilities indoors as well as their expanded outdoor seating. Hand sanitizer stations will be positioned throughout the District, and guests are reminded to use masks while indoors and outside when a six-foot social distance cannot be maintained. “We understand these are unprecedented times for Dayton’s small businesses,” said City of Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “The City of Dayton supports efforts like Out on 5th that create additional revenue opportunities while maintaining public safety standards.”
To kick off the weekend of street closures and the new DORA, the ODBA will participate in the Downtown Sidewalk Sale event starting on First Friday, Sept. 4, and extending into Saturday, Sept. 5. Shops and restaurants across downtown Dayton will create an on-street presence with display racks and trunk sales. Guest artisan merchants from around the Miami Valley will complement the atmosphere. Live entertainment and local artwork will punctuate the experience. More information can be found at DowntownDayton.org. “Now more than ever, our small businesses need the support of the community,” Gudorf said. “The DDP is proud to support our small businesses with programming like First Friday, the Downtown Sidewalk Sale, and more upcoming events. There will also be musicians and roving entertainment in the District on weekends to enhance the experience guests have while they’re Out on 5th.”
“The ODBA hopes this initiative will encourage patrons to come back to support their favorite businesses,” Babriad said. “Initiatives like Out on 5th and amenities like our new, free, public WiFi make the Oregon District an attractive place to gather with family and friends, and also a great spot for a productive off-site work lunch.”
Additionally, “If you’re coming downtown, remember there are almost 300 free parking spaces on the street along Wayne Avenue, Bainbridge, Walnut, Jones, and Fourth streets, or in the Greater Dayton Premier Management lot after 5 p.m. on weekdays and weekends, thanks to the ODBA parking lot grant,” Babriad said. “There are also thousands of parking spaces in paid lots at either end of Fifth Street — the Oregon District garage near the Convention Center is just $1 after 6 p.m.” Designated spots for carry-out, delivery, rideshare pick-up, and valet parking are still being selected. Watch TheOregonDistrict.org for more information.
Other transportation options include using the Link Dayton Bike Share system or the SPIN e-scooters. Riding through Fifth Street is prohibited during times the streets are closed. Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority’s free Flyer bus makes a stop near the Oregon District garage and the Convention Center across the street, making it another convenient transit option for those traveling to and from the District between RiverScape MetroPark and the University of Dayton.
After Sept. 4, the DORA will go into full effect, allowing patrons to leave bars or restaurants with their beverage in a designated DORA cup from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Patrons within the DORA must stay on the sidewalks when Fifth Street is open to vehicular traffic, and patrons must always stay within the boundaries of the DORA (indicated in the attached map).
Out on 5th is a partner program with the ODBA, the DDP, and the City of Dayton. To learn more about Out on 5th, visit TheOregonDistrict.org.
- DO drink beverages in the official DORA cup, which can be purchased at participating bars and restaurants. (Look for the sticker indicating “DORA drinks sold here.”)
- DO stay within the boundaries of the DORA. Signs will be posted around the perimeter, and a map can be found online.
- DO bring your DORA beverage into retailers where the sticker on the entrance indicates it is OK to do so.
- DO remove your trash from public tables or other public outdoor seating areas and place them in the marked receptacles around the area. This will help servers and other workers clean the tables faster for the next guest to enjoy.
- Do tip your servers and bartenders — they depend on it for their livelihoods!
- DON’T bring your DORA cup into a bar or restaurant. Finish your beverage and dispose of your cup in the designated receptacles.
- DON’T take your DORA beverage outside the designated boundaries.
- DON’T drink your beverage in a street that is open to vehicular traffic.
- DON’T bring your DORA cup into a retailer with a sign on the entrance that says they do not allow DORA cups in their establishment.
- DON’T leave your trash on the tables, on the street, or other places that are not trash cans. We want this to be an enjoyable experience for the customers and small businesses!