McMaster: No alcohol sale after 11 p.m. for restaurants and bars | Covid-19 coverage
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 among 21 to 30 year olds, Gov. Henry McMaster on Friday announced his Last Call Executive Order, which bans the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars after 11 p.m., in as of Saturday July 11. .
“Many young people across the state and across the country don’t seem to be taking this virus as seriously as they should,” McMaster said. “Younger generations need to realize what is at stake if we don’t see these infection rates drop.”
The decree does not apply to alcohol sold in convenience stores, grocery stores and liquor stores, but will apply to the approximately 8,000 on-site liquor sales permits across the state.
Restaurants and bars that violate the order, McMaster said, will face fines and the possibility of having their beer, wine or liquor licenses suspended.
“It’s a warrant. It’s an order the state can enforce,” the governor said. “We intend to do so and we believe it will help reduce the spread of this virus.”
Dr Joan Duwve, director of public health at SC’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, said 22% of all confirmed cases in the state are in people between the ages of 21 and 30. She also noted that 42% of all COVID-19 cases in the state have been reported in the past two weeks.
“Think about what those numbers are going to look like in two weeks if we continue to observe people who don’t wear masks and who don’t socially distance themselves,” Dr Duwve said.
McMaster said that due to COVID-19, businesses have suffered, livelihoods have suffered and children have suffered from not being in school, as well as “unintended consequences” such as depression, stress and anxiety due to isolation.
Hartley Powell, of the SC Department of Revenue, said they would not go into a business and accept a license without warning.
Jason Klocker, who owns Klocker’s Tavern just south of Myrtle Beach, said he didn’t think the order would be effective.
“Obviously he doesn’t realize people are just going to come out three hours early,” Klocker said. “He hasn’t accomplished a single lonely thing other than downsizing my businesses. Which I guess is better than shutting them down.”
The bar owner estimated he was doing 40% of his business after 11 p.m., but said he wasn’t sure how the new order would affect sales.
“People would probably come out a little earlier than they normally would,” he said. “I don’t know. It really doesn’t make much sense to me anyway.”
In mid-March, McMaster closed bars and restaurants and reopened them in early May. But Klocker said McMaster, along with other states across the country, was ignoring crowds of people who weren’t socially distanced while congregating at retailers like Lowes and Sam’s Club.
“The governor is trying to come back to his mistakes and it falls on us,” Klocker said.
McMaster answered questions about the success of that order and why he wouldn’t order a statewide mask-wearing warrant.
“State authorities cannot apply a statewide warrant to five million people,” McMaster said, noting that it is different from a seat belt law. “We talked about it.”
Dwayne Parrish, director of SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said recent news about the COVID-19 outbreaks had hampered the return of tourism.
“I implore everyone, residents and visitors – wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands,” Parrish said. “Take advantage of all that SC has to offer, but do it wisely.”
The decree regarding alcohol sales will be in effect until further notice.
“We hope we don’t have to take the licenses from anyone, but we’re ready to apply them,” McMaster said.