MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Clubs and bars in what's known as the superblock of Myrtle Beach have to continue closing at 2 a.m. permanently.
A shooting last month outside Pure Ultra Club in Myrtle Beach led city council members to pass an emergency ordinance, requiring all bars and clubs in the superblock to close at 2 a.m.
That emergency ordinance would've expired next month, but instead of allowing it to expire, council members voted four-to-two to make the restrictions on business hours law. Those in favor cited concerns for safety and the success of the emergency ordinance in making the area safer.
Myrtle Beach Police Chief Warren Gall told council members Tuesday morning he can't any calls to the area since the businesses had to start closing early last month.
"That area is a ghost town now at night and there is no crime," said George Clay, owner of St. George Bar.
He said he doesn't think the emergency ordinance is necessary anymore, so he was disappointed to see it pass final reading. Even though it doesn't affect his own business owners because his business is across the street from the area where the ordinance targets, he said it affects him.
"I'm hoping things calm down in general in the city and things start to work and city council can see what works and what doesn't work," he said.
Business owners in the superblock told city council members they've been having a difficult time since the emergency ordinance was enacted.
"I'm paying rent, I'm paying bills from the last two months from my own pocket," said Denis Gligan, one of the owners of Club there.
He said it's not fair to his business.
"The last ten years, we've had no problems," he said. "We care about the safety of our customers and now we're paying the price for something that has nothing to do with us."
The manager of Pure Ultra Club also told council he doesn't think the responsibility should lie with the club
"We're doing everything we can do go by the law," Ronald Ronda said. "Maybe we can do better on a security plan for the whole city. But blaming the club for that? C'mon it's like it's unbelievable. We show the police. We help the police on trying to get these guys. What more can we do?"
City council members voted to continue another ordinance that would make bars and clubs across Myrtle Beach close at 2 a.m. unless they have a proven track record without crime for the past three years while operating at that time.
"I hope that one has a lot of thought that they don't hurry into passing it and that they really put a lot of thought in it because that really might be the better way to go," Clay said.
Council members didn't vote on that Tuesday because the city is still looking at which businesses are grandfathered in that want to stay open after 2 a.m.
Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea estimates less than 10 percent of nightlife business in the city are requesting to stay open after 2 a.m.