CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- After Governor Henry McMaster’s shocking announcement on Friday that he will be lifting the ‘Last Call Order,’ business owners and city leaders are bracing for the changes.
Starting Monday, March 1st, bars and restaurants will be allowed to stay open and serve alcohol until 2:00 AM. The governor also says large gatherings of more than 250 people will not longer require approval.
Business owners across the state have been asking Governor McMaster to lift these restrictions for months. Many say taking away the hours between midnight and 2AM caused more crowding and less sales.
Noah Sulek, a Charleston resident, thinks this decision will be positive for local businesses and their patrons.
“I think the local community here felt a little bit stressed out from the amount of people that would come into all the bars and restaurants all at once,” says Sulek, “Now people can go at different hours and not be body-to-body with eachother.”
According to the governor’s statement, he wants to encourage the state to continue following social distancing, masking, and hygiene protocols, but “that’s a decision for South Carolinians to make.”
Right now, the City of Charleston still has a mask mandate in place. City leaders are raising some concerns with the challenge of holding people accountable in these larger groups.
Shannon Scaff, Director of Emergency Management, says it’s important for people to remember that the restrictions will not be lifted until Monday. This weekend, bargoers are expected to follow the guidelines that have been in place since July.
“We are not out of the woods on this thing,” says Scaff, “We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing to protect ourselves and each other.”
Officers will be on patrol as usual this weekend giving out tickets and ensuring bar owners and patrons follow protocols.