MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - In an ordinary year, The Market Common’s “A Southern Times Square” functions a little like the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York’s Times Square, in that, the more, the merrier for celebrating.
But because of the coronavirus pandemic, changes had to be made to the event in order to keep the New Year’s Eve celebration alive.
Caitlen Buffkin, the marketing coordinator, said they plan for 10,000 people every year at the event, but now only 1,000 people will be allowed in and they must have a ticket.
“That is the number that has been given to us by the fire marshall,” said Buffkin. “Taking into consideration social distancing rules.”
The Market Common also had to get special approval from the South Carolina Department of Commerce in order to hold the event.
A manager at King Street Grille said New Year’s Eve is generally the busiest night all year. While that may still be the case this year, that 1,000 is still 90% less than a typical year.
Not to mention ringing in the New Year will have to go without ringing glasses because of the governor’s “Last Call” executive order which means vendors and restaurants can only sell alcohol until 11 p.m.
A manager at Gordon Biersch said the restaurant usually stays open until 2 a.m., but won’t this year.
But Coordinators aren’t “dropping the ball” on making sure businesses still get a positive boost from the festivities.
“You do need to make a purchase at a restaurant or retailer in the Market Common, and one $25 purchase is valid for one ticket to the New Year’s Eve event,” said Buffkin.
In order to claim that ticket, you need to present your receipt at the Market Common office.
Buffkin is hoping the limited capacity, coupled with social distancing and hand sanitizing stations, will make for a safe, and fun, celebration.
“We think we can enjoy New Year’s in a responsible way, and that’s what we’re trying to do with the event,” said Buffkin.
Buffkin said they’ve handed out about 650 tickets, which means there’s still 350 or so left for the celebration that will be a little more exclusive this year.