CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Bars and restaurants across the state are officially allowed to stay open and sell alcohol past 11:00 PM. On Monday, there were dozens of patrons out on King Street in Downtown Charleston taking advantage of the changes.
Some are saying this is the first time nightlife has resembled what it looked like pre-COVID-19.
Since July of 2020, businesses were required to stop serving alcohol after 11. Now, they have the ability to stay open until 2:00 AM.
Governor McMaster spoke publicly for the first time since his announcement that he would be lifting his ‘Last Call Order.’
He says his decision was made by the numbers in the country and in South Carolina: the declining cases of COVID-19 and the increasing number of vaccinated South Carolinians.
“It was time in South Carolina to remove those restrictions. Those were the last restrictions we had,” says McMaster.
The City of Charleston says they are working hard to ensure patrons continue following the city’s mask mandate. City officials say they have already written more than 700 citations since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We will continue through the weekends, we have been out with our saturation patrols in the bar and restaurant districts at night. We have been out during the daytime as well and we will continue to, with that same schedule and random locations. We will pick and begin enforcement,” says Dan Riccio from the City of Charleston.
Governor McMaster says he is hopeful that South Carolinians will do the right thing and follow the rules to keep everyone safe and healthy.
“We’re still counting on the people of SC to use their common sense — we all know what the rules are. But we need to take care of ourselves and take care of our neighbors,” he says.
If there were to be a spike in Coronavirus cases from the Governor lifting his restrictions; he has not yet announced if he would reinstate the ‘Last Call Order.’