MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A South Carolina law that started January 1 was just supposed to help non-profit agencies get temporary alcohol permits more easily, but it has created a problem for others who want to get those permits too.
The law now allows non-profits to apply for multiple temporary special events permits at once for multiple events. However, the wording of the law now omits any private business or individual from applying for a special event permit at all.
Events at places where there is already a long-term permit for on-premises alcohol sales would not be affected. The problem comes for events at places where a permit is not already in place, therefore requiring a temporary special event permit. A street festival on Ocean Boulevard, a wine tasting in Valor Park or a reception at the Train Depot are examples of places where temporary permits would be needed to serve alcohol (specifically beer and wine because state law only allows non-profits to get special event liquor permits).
Caterers like Croissants Bistro and Bakery are now excluded from applying for a special event alcohol permit.
"I can understand why a lot of other people are getting concerned about it because there's a lot of revenue that could be lost due to the way the law was re-written," said Chef Brad Daniels.
An oyster roast planned for the 21st at Myrtle Beach's Valor Park is supposed to offer beer, but promoter Mike Shank said he is working on a way to make it happen. He is also working on another oyster roast planned in Conway on February 5.
If arrangements like that are always necessary State representative Alan Clemmons says special events and their revenue could decide to go elsewhere.
"I think organizations could get around the change in the law, but in order to get around the change in the law, there would likely be extra expense, additional insurance requirements," Clemmons said. "So we really don't want to lose any economic stimulus that we have going for us in South Carolina."
Clemmons said he does not know how the error happened, but lawmakers say they are going to take quick action to fix the problem when the General Assembly reconvenes on January 11.