CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Lowcountry is getting ready to say goodbye to 2021, and to celebrate, many plan to hit bars and restaurants across the area.
Venues like Red’s Ice House, Uptown Social, and Henry’s on the Market are expecting a big turnout on New Year’s Eve, despite rising COVID-19 cases. The three bars are hosting sold-out, ticketed events on Friday night.
The owner of Henry’s, Greg Russell, said they will require people to wear a mask until seated on New Year’s Eve. As for Red’s, Event Coordinator Skipper Kress said they have had to refund a decent number of tickets because of COVID-19.
“As soon as they can prove to us that they had COVID, or have COVID, we immediately refund their money,” said Kress. “Through the website, they pop back up so we can resell those tickets.”
Aside from some changes this year, bars and patrons told News 2 they are excited to see some normalcy return compared to last New Year’s Eve.
“Last year we were open until 11 pm. The governor had a curfew in place at the time, which was certainly a first for us,” said Keith Benjamin, the owner of Uptown Social. “Tonight, to be open again past when the ball drops is really nice for us.”
The Charleston Police Department will be out in full force, monitoring for impaired drivers. They said an enforcement squad rolled out around 5 pm.
Officers remind drivers there are long-term consequences to drinking and driving.
“When we catch you, you will be arrested and you’ll have to go through a lengthy court process,” said Lt. Paul Krasowski. “We strive to make great DUI cases that will lead to convictions.”