COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - Gov. Henry McMaster announced Friday the sale of alcoholic beverages in all bars and restaurants throughout the state will be prohibited after 11 p.m. daily.
The order goes into effect Saturday, July 11.
McMaster said the order is a direct response to the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases among young people in South Carolina. The governor added he hopes it sends a message that young adults need to take the virus seriously.
“We know that young adults who are rapidly contracting the virus and spreading it into our communities frequently congregate in late-night atmospheres which simply are not conducive to stopping its continued transmission,” McMaster said. “This measured, carefully tailored approach will lessen the opportunity for South Carolinians to put themselves and their loved ones in harm’s way.”
The governor’s order does not apply to alcohol sold at convenience or grocery stores, wine and liquor stores, or retail business.
However, the order does apply to any holder of the following licenses: On-premises beer and wine permit, winery permit, brewpub beer/wine permit, brewery permit, business liquor by the drink license, non-profit private club liquor by the drink license, special event permit, or special non-profit event permit.
“One size does fit all in this situation about the service and sale of beer or alcohol after 11 p.m. and it can and will be enforced,” McMaster said. “We have the state authority, the state power to enforce it.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Revenue, any business in violation of the order will be warned before licenses are revoked.
There are approximately 8,000 restaurants and bars permitted by SCDOR for on-site sale and consumption of alcohol, the governor’s office said.
During Friday’s briefing, McMaster also reiterated his desire to reopen schools to in-person learning in the fall.
“People have to go to work, parents have to go to work, teachers want to go to work, everybody wants to get to school started,” McMaster said. “But we have to be sure that we’re doing so safely.”
McMaster also noted that he has no plans to close businesses despite a surge in COVID-19 cases.