“Having it open now, it’s been a long year so, it’s been wonderful to have that,” Patriots fan Donna Rae said.

FOXBOROUGH, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Patriots football is less than 48 hours away. Fans across western Mass. and New England are ready to watch their favorite football team back in action, and in Foxborough, there’s plenty of new attractions and entertainment for fans.

“Having it open now, it’s been a long year so, it’s been wonderful to have that,” Patriots fan Donna Rae said.

Rae is one of the guests enjoying the one-of-a-kind entertainment area in Foxborough at Patriot Place. It’s called DORA, or designated outdoor refreshment areas. With the purchase of food, guests can take out drinks from the restaurant to enjoy outside.

“It’s just socializing again, which is what we all really need,” Rae explained.

It’s an extension of the expanded dining guidelines in Massachusetts during COVID. Brian Earley, the vice president and general manager of Patriot Place, tells Western Mass News it’s the first of its kind in Massachusetts and one of 24 locations across the country.

“We have the support of the town of Foxborough was a great partner in this so, this makes all the sense in the world,” Earley said.

Earley tells Western Mass News right now it’s a temporary fixture with the expanded guidelines in place through at least May 1, 2022. But Earley really wants to see it become a permanent fixture in Foxborough.

“This is the very first in Massachusetts so, we’re hoping for it to be a safe, family-friendly space that can take off in other areas,” Earley explained.

The space will also feature live music performances. On Friday, local band Northeast Groove performed for fans enjoying food, drink, and sunshine.

Earley added the new DORA space will give fans peace of mind on game day who may not be comfortable spending lengths of time in a crowded restaurant.

Also, it’s a much-needed boost for restaurants including Bar Louie, Citizen Crust, and Skipjack’s, all still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“It’s just another revenue stream; any incremental opportunity we have to help them. We try to do that,” Earley said.

The space is sure to be rocking this Sunday when the New England Patriots open up their regular season against the Miami Dolphins at 4:25 p.m. on CBS 3.

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