Myrtle Beach bars frustrated with new ‘Last Call’ executive order

Myrtle Beach bar owner frustrated with new ‘Last Call’ executive order

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Gov. Henry McMaster’s latest executive order went into effect late Saturday night - banning the sale of alcohol past 11 p.m. at bars and restaurants across South Carolina.

Atlas Tap House in Myrtle Beach opens most days at 4 p.m. and closes at 2 a.m. Owner Aaron Gifford says the business flourishes with a late-night crowd.

Gifford said many of the people who come in work in the service industry and come out to unwind after their shift ends.

But he said when he first heard the latest executive order from Gov. McMaster, he was disappointed.

“I hate to say this but it would almost be easier if they said - ‘bars shut down',” Gifford said. “Because that would allow for the bars to allow their employees to collect unemployment.”

Others remained skeptical of the new rules in place.

“A little confusion,” said Johnathan Talbot, general manager of Tin Roof in Myrtle Beach. “I’m not exactly sure how they tie in together, keeping a younger crowd not drinking is gonna help anything.”

Gifford said since many people who come to Atlas start coming later or after work, the taphouse might be serving them their first drink during those late-night hours. They’re also making social distancing a top priority.

He added they’ve followed every other executive order that’s come out. Employees wear masks and they have sanitation stations set up throughout the bar.

Gifford said Atlas has considered opening earlier, but doesn’t know if they would have any business during more daytime hours. With the huge portion of sales gone from closing early - he’s frustrated for his employees.

“For the bars to get assistance in other ways, but to limit the hours where they are making their money is kind of hindering them and hindering their business,” Gifford said. “Cutting them off and not allowing them or their employees to receive the money they’d rightly usually make because they’re officially still employed.”

The Myrtle Beach Police Department said they had compliance teams out Saturday night to enforce this order, as well as the city’s mask ordinance.

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