Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area

DORA Amendments Proposed in 2021

The City of Worthington is considering changes to its established Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) to expand the hours and footprint. If approved, the changes would be put into place for a 90-day pilot period then evaluated to determine if the changes would be made permanent. 

City Council will discuss the input received and options identified at a virtual public hearing via Microsoft Teams on June 7, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting can be accessed at

The agenda and additional information will be posted here when it is available.

DORA outdoor dining

What's New?

The Worthington Responsible Business Opening & Operations Team (ReBOOT), established to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, received feedback from the local small business community that an expansion of the DORA would result in increased sales revenues for local businesses and provide more opportunities outside of scheduled special events for the community to enjoy the downtown area while walking around with an open container. 

Any changes to the existing DORA require the City to make public notice, hold a public hearing, and for the City Manager to file an application with City Council to begin the process. The application, filed by City Manager Matt Greeson on May 4, 2021, includes the following considerations. 

  • Individuals would be permitted to carry an open container of alcohol purchased at one of the Old Worthington restaurants anywhere within the 5-acre DORA district on a recurring, weekly schedule. Options range from every day of the week to a more limited schedule, for example, Thursday through Sunday each week, during certain hours.
  • DORA boundaries are slightly modified to include 530 High Street, the address for Chapala Mexican Restaurant, expected to open Summer 2021.
  • Any changes to the DORA would be part of a 90-day trial program. Staff will then collect additional input and provide City Council with a report at the end of the 90-day trial period.

Application to amend DORA

May 3, 2021 City Council memo and proposed ordinance

Letter to Old Worthington Neighborhood

Current DORA ends at South Street. Proposed change extends DORA a short distance south to incorporate the new Chapala Mexican Restaurant opening soon.


Provide Feedback

Your input is important. We want to hear from you! What hours and days of the week should we try? Do you have questions about how the DORA works? What other suggestions do you have?

Please consider sharing your thoughts with City leaders by emailing

DORA Background

Worthington City Council approved legislation at its June 5, 2017 meeting to establish a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in downtown Worthington. The legislation was approved after an amendment removed the Worthington Farmers Market as an eligible event.
Resolution 30-2017 with Exhibits - Approved 6-5-2017
Application to City Council

As of April 30, 2017, Ohio law allows municipalities under 35,000 in population to create a DORA. As required by state law, the application was submitted by City Manager Matt Greeson, at the request of the Old Worthington Partnership (Partnership.) The Partnership is a volunteer organization led by a Board of Directors which supports downtown businesses and enhances the Old Worthington experience. The Partnership states that the creation of a DORA helps maintain the experiential nature of our historic downtown by enhancing outdoor dining and special events.

As approved in 2017, the DORA includes the High Street corridor between South Village Green Drive and South Street and east/west boundaries along New England Avenue from 26 E. New England to 41 W. New England. Within that boundary, restaurant patrons are legally permitted to have an alcoholic beverage that they purchase within the right-of-way areas of each liquor-permit-holding establishment. Patrons with an alcoholic beverage would be required to stay within an establishment’s predetermined boundary, and may only do so during the posted hours of operation. For permitted special events hosted by the Partnership, individuals will be allowed to walk within the DORA boundaries with an alcoholic beverage purchased from a liquor permit holding establishment.

Plans for signage, sanitation, public safety and law enforcement are included in Resolution 30-2017. See all related documents below.

Outdoor Dining

Related Documents