Dayton’s outdoor drinking district suspended on St. Patrick’s Day

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Dayton’s Outdoor Designated Refreshment Area (DORA) will not be in effect on Wednesday, meaning St. Patrick’s Day revelers will not be allowed to take their drinks outside on Fifth Street like they normally can.

The DORA’s operations are suspended just two days of the year: St. Patrick’s Day and the last Saturday in October (Hauntfest).

The suspensions are meant to avoid interfering with other activities planned by local businesses or the Oregon District Business Association.

St. Patrick’s Day always is one of the most popular drinking days of the year, and good weather is expected on Wednesday (a high of 70 degrees).

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

St. Patrick’s Day will be different again this year, because bars and restaurants will be hosting smaller and modified events that comply COVID-19 safety guidelines, said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

“It will look and feel different,” she said.

Last year, some of the Dayton area’s largest St. Paddy’s events were cancelled or downsized following health orders that banned large gatherings.

Downtown businesses have been dealing with COVID-19 for a year now, and they know how to operate safely, Gudorf said.

But visitors and merrymakers need to remember not to let their guards down because “we’re not out of the woods yet,” Gudorf said.

“We’re getting so far along, and we don’t want to take a step backwards,” she said. “We’re close to getting to the other side of COVID.”



Ford Weber, Dayton’s economic development director, said officials have been concerned about St. Patrick’s celebrations turning into “super-spreader” events.

But, he said, people and businesses hopefully can prevent that from happening by being responsible and following CDC and state health guidelines.

Some restaurants are taking reservations and other establishments expect to use counters at the door to avoid overcrowding, he said.

Like always, people need to socially distance, wear masks unless actively eating or drinking and regularly wash their hands, Weber said.

Health officials have said they are worried because alcohol consumption and intoxication can cause people to behave less safely and responsibly.

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