City of Charleston looks to enact ordinance banning free samples

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On Tuesday, the City of Charleston will bring up their first reading of an ordinance aimed at banning free samples in certain areas of the peninsula.

City officials told News 2 the designated areas of the ordinance will be along King Street, spanning from Broad Street to Spring Street and areas around the City Market.

The reason for the ordinance was noted as a long-time issue of public safety. Dan Riccio, the Director of Livability and Tourism for the City of Charleston, said time and time again, he’s seen that “citizens were distracted, they would stop in the middle of the sidewalk, some would walk into the roadway, especially on King.”

The city went as far as to get input from businesses prior to their first reading in hopes of making this a permanent procedure. 

The business community was engaged with our neighborhood business and services department. They did have input and there was a consensus that this is the right thing to do, this is the right ordinance to enact. So I think there’s plenty of buy in from the other businesses in the area. That’s why we’re proceeding with the ordinance.  

Dan Riccio, Director of Livability and Tourism 

Riccio said this would apply to all samples, both edible and inedible, along the city-designated areas.

Until the ordinance has been passed and ratified, the city’s office of Livability and Tourism will continue to advise those giving out samples to do so in a non-aggressive manner.

If the ordinance does pass and a business is found to be soliciting free samples, they could face fines of up to $1,087 or 30-days in prison pending their livability court-date findings.

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