South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said bars and restaurants in the state will be banned from selling alcoholic beverages after 11 p.m. nightly.
McMaster announced said the new order — called the “The Last Call” executive order — is aimed at reducing the transmission of coronavirus, especially among young adults.
“Many of the young people in our state as well as around the country seem not to be taking the virus as seriously as they should. We hope that this will help all of us, particularly the younger generations, to realize just how serious this virus is and how much is at stake if we don't see these infection rates start dropping,” he said.
The order goes into effect at 11 p.m. tomorrow and does not apply to alcohol sold at convenience stores, grocery stores or wine and liquor stores.
Restaurants and bars that violate the order will be subject to ticketing, fines and ultimately could have their liquor licenses temporarily suspended or revoked.
“When engaging in certain social activities like eating or grabbing a drink out with friends, especially in enclosed indoor spaces, we are putting ourselves and others at greater risk of getting and spreading the virus," Director of Public Health Dr. Joan Duwve warned. "In these settings, people get close, they tend to talk louder over the music. And we know that this virus is spread really efficiently by people who are close to one another talking — the louder you talk the more efficiently it spreads — for 15 minutes or longer.”
Despite the new order on alcohol sales, the governor said he will not be implementing a statewide mask mandate, saying it’s very difficult to enforce and that the state is not one-size-fits-all.
“To issue a statewide (mask) mandate to be enforced by statewide authorities is impractical to do,” he said.
By contrast, when it comes to limiting the sale of beer and alcohol after 11 p.m., McMaster said, “We can enforce this, and we will. We intend to and we believe that this will help in reducing the spread of this virus."