2012 Block Street Block Party / File photo
Fayetteville’s new outdoor drinking program began at 10 a.m. Wednesday, meaning people can now take advantage of a new state law that allows public consumption of alcohol in certain places.
City Council members last month approved plan that establishes rules and boundaries where residents can drink alcohol outside without having to stay within a fenced-in area.
The move was in reaction to Act 812, which was sponsored by Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado). The new state law allows municipalities to create designated entertainment districts inside commercial areas that contain places like restaurants, bars, music venues, art galleries, and other entertainment or hospitality establishments. Those districts are exempt from state laws that prohibit public alcohol consumption.
Fayetteville’s district, known as the Outdoor Refreshment Area, runs roughly from Watson Street to the north, Mountain Street to the south, and from West to East avenues in the downtown entertainment district.
Several extensions, however, provide access to certain businesses in each direction. For example, the area extends south along School Avenue to the Mill District, east along Center Street to College Avenue, west to Powerhouse Avenue, and north along West Avenue toward Lafayette Street (see map below).
Officials said the area will be marked by a series of 50 aluminum signs so people know where outdoor drinking is allowed.
Businesses who choose to participate can sell alcoholic beverages in special cups provided by the city from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Customers must wear a branded wristband before they can leave the business with their drinks and walk around outside. Servers are required to ask for identification to verify a customer’s age, even if they already received a wristband at another business.
No other alcohol is allowed inside the boundaries.
Economic Vitality Director Devin Howland said the department has ordered branded, environmentally-friendly cups, but they won’t arrive for a few weeks so the program will begin with blank cups. Howland said the city will add 10 recycling receptacles in the area for people to dispose of their cups.
The cups must be kept within the boundaries and cannot be brought into any other business that serves alcohol. Bringing drinks into shops that don’t serve alcohol is permitted with permission from those businesses, according to a series of rules outlined by Howland.
Rules for Customers:
- ORA Cups must be kept within the program area–look for the boundary signs.
- ORA drinks are allowed Sunday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
- 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.
- Don’t litter. Cups must be disposed of in a designated recycling bin.
- Don’t loiter per (ACA 5-71-213).
- Don’t give your ORA alcoholic beverage to anyone else, even if they are 21 years of age or older.
- 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.
- All City and State of Arkansas laws pertaining to alcohol still apply.
- Drink responsibly and enjoy downtown Fayetteville!
Rules for Businesses:
- 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.
- 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.
- ORA Cups can only be sold during the designated times of 10AM-10PM, seven days a week.
- Businesses can charge a fee for an ORA cup and wrist band if they wish but are not required to do so.
- Alcoholic Beverages sold for the purpose of being consumed outside of the establishment shall be within a designated ORA Cup.
Source: City of Fayetteville