Bar, restaurant owners feel new S.C. executive order hits hard after months of roadblocks

'Last Call' executive order in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) - Twenty-two percent of all cases in South Carolina are people between the ages of 21 to 30. That number has prompted Governor Henry McMaster to sign a new executive order hoping to keep young people out of groups.

It is called the Last Call Executive Order. Restaurants and bars have to stop serving alcohol after 11, but a taproom in Lancaster says the executive order is hurting businesses that have already been through so much.

”Nearly half of the coronavirus cases in South Carolina have occurred in the past two weeks,” says DHEC Public Health Director Dr. Joan Duwve.

It is a statistic that sounds daunting, but it is not the only one creating concern for DHEC. Duwve says the agency has seen a 430 percent increase in cases from those 21 to 30 years old. She says younger people are getting together in groups and spreading the virus.

'Last Call': SC stops late-nite alcohol sales at bars, restaurants

”We know people are tired and ready to get back to a more normal life. We encourage everyone to choose activities that are safer,” she says.

To help push that agenda, Governor Henry McMaster issued a new executive order. Restaurants and bars have to stop serving alcohol after 11 p.m.

“It almost feels like small businesses have been targeted,” says Don and Brandy Geraghty, who own The Craft Stand in Lancaster.

Important to note, restaurants and bars can stay open and serve food after 11. This does not apply to the Geraghtys. They only sell alcohol, so the new order is hitting their pockets.

”This pays for the whole show. It pays for our house it pays for itself,” says Brandy Geraghty. “It’s not hurting the big box stores. It’s hurting small businesses that depend on this to feed their families.”

The governor is trying to keep younger people from spreading the coronavirus, but the Geraghtys says his plan is not as one size fits all as he thinks.

”Lancaster is way different than Charelston or Columbia and Myrtle Beach. It’s a little disheartening,” says Don Geraghty.

There will be different penalties for not following the executive order one as severe as losing your alcohol license. The order goes into effect Saturday at 11 p.m. No end date yet-McMaster says it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

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