Governor McMaster’s Last Call To Stop Selling Alcohol After 11 PM Affecting Local Bars

TRI-COUNTY, S.C. — The governor’s Last Call executive order started on Saturday.

Bars and restaurants in South Carolina must now stop serving alcohol after 11 p.m.

The governor says this will keep young people from gathering and spreading COVID-19.

But there are mixed reactions and as CN2’s Indira Eskieva learned, the order effects bars in different ways.

On Saturday night, Fernando Perez made about 20 percent less money than he normally would have.

But he’s not upset over the Last Call executive Order, which says he needs to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m.

“Everybody is sacrificing something. Everybody is. We were not open just a few months ago. Something is better than nothing,” Perez said. “We’re able to pay bills.”

Before the pandemic, The Small Bar was open until 2 in the morning. But since the pandemic, Perez cut hours until midnight.

“It gives us a couple of hours at the end of the night to give it a good clean, Perez. “And also come in in the morning and have a nice fresh start.”

The executive order is affecting bars and restaurants throughout the Tri-County in very different ways.

For example, most bars and restaurants in Fort Mill and Rock Hill have already been closing by 11 p.m. or midnight at the latest even before the executive order was issued.

But Coates Billiards in Kershaw, well, their owner tells me they depend on those hours after 11 p.m. for much needed business.

“We’re out in the middle of nowhere. Our bar is small bar. It’s killing us, it’s strangling us,” Billy Boone said.

Billy Boone says at Coates Billiards, they’ve tried to follow all guidelines.

After Governor Henry McMaster’s latest executive order, he feels small businesses have been targeted in this pandemic.

“In his order he said that all bars have to close down, but convenience stores can sell alcohol,” Boone said. “So all they have to do is to go to a convenience store and buy it and then go somewhere else. It’s just hurting the small business man.”

For now, Boone says he’ll use his second job to cover losses. He says Coates Billiards lost a couple of hundred dollars on Saturday.

But for a small-town bar, he says that’s a lot of money that will add up fast the longer the executive order goes on.

Coates has been in Kershaw for more than 30 years.