Open Consumption District

Open Consumption District Update

On September 7, 2021 the Fayetteville City Council passed Ordinance 6476, removing the sunset provision from open consumption district. 

View a map of the Outdoor Refreshment Area

Background Information for the 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 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 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, as well as disperse activity throughout the district. 

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 6322. All State of Arkansas and City of Fayetteville laws still apply

Rules for Patrons:

  • ORA cups must be kept in the Outdoor Refreshment Area and are only allowed in public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. - look for the signs for ORA boundaries.
  • ORA cups cannot be taken into another alcohol-serving establishment. 
  • Beverages in ORA cups must be purchased from a participating establishment. 
  • Patrons must use the designated ORA cup and official wristband to consume in public.
  • Don’t litter. Dispose of ORA cups in recycling receptacles.
  • Don’t give your ORA cup to anyone else, even if they are over 21.
  • Don’t loiter, per Ark. Code Ann. 5-71-213.
  • Don’t bring alcohol from outside the district to consume in ORA Cups. 
  • All other City and State of Arkansas laws still apply. 
  • Maintain social distancing and mask up inside establishments when ordering.
  • Drink responsibly. Support businesses safely and enjoy downtown Fayetteville!

Rules for Businesses:

  • Patrons who purchase a drink to be consumed outside of the establishment shall be I.D.ed to verify legal drinking age and given an official wrist band by the business.
  • If a patron enters a business wearing an official wristband that 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 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Please use good judgment when patrons request to-go beverages close to 10 p.m., since public consumption stops at 10 p.m. daily. 
  • Businesses can charge a fee for an ORA cup and wristband if they wish, but are not required to do so. 
  • The point of sale and serving of the to-go beverage must take place within your alcohol-permit boundary that has been approved by State Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • All State of Arkansas and City of Fayetteville laws still apply. The Outdoor Refreshment Area Ordinance only regulates possession and consumption outside of your establishment, not the serving of alcohol. 

The Outdoor Refreshment Area Ordinance does not regulate nor have the power to regulate the serving of alcohol, it only regulates possession and consumption in public for your patrons.

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. We will have a brief orientation session with you, which is solely for the benefit of your business.

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?
    • The pilot program was made permanent by the Fayetteville City Council on September 7, 2021 with passage of Ordinance 6476.
  •  Can I take an ORA cup into the Farmers Market?
    • No. The Farmers market is a separate event. Please do not attempt to take ORA cups into the Farmers Market at anytime. 
  • 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 program will begin with a 12 ounce and 16 ounce plan compostable cup with a green band. Branded cups will arrive soon and utilized then.
  • Can I take an ORA cup into an ORA Special 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.