FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Thursday night, Folly Beach City Council members passed the first reading of a referendum that may put the future of the alcohol ban on the beach in the hands of Folly's voters come November.
The referendum still has to be read two more times before August 5th and passed before it's printed on the November election ballots.
The second reading of the referendum will take place next Wednesday night, July 18.
Tuesday night, leaders put a temporary 60-day ban on booze in place after an outcry from the local community.
Public Safety Chief Dennis Brown says this weekend Folly Beach Public Safety officers are planning to step up enforcement to inform people know about the new drinking rules before they even step out on the sand.
This weekend extra officers will be on patrol at Folly's most popular access points. Chief Brown says he will also ask Charleston County to provide deputies for the push to make beach goers aware of the 60-day ban.
"Our first approach is to inform them and to give everybody the benefit of the doubt," said Brown. "Folks have been drinking alcohol out here forever so you can't expect that to change overnight."
The first 'No Alcohol' sign to pop up on Folly Beach is just before the bridge on Folly Road, warning those heading to the beach about the ordinance.
Authorities are also ordering more signs to put at each beach access point and also in parking areas along the seven miles of coastline.
The chief says if you're caught with alcohol, an officer will decide your fine but tickets cannot be written higher than $1,092.
The catalyst for the self-imposed drinking ban was a Fourth of July beach brawl that ended with several people in jail and officers and a Charleston County deputy hurt.
Brett Little, who is vacationing from Rock Hill, SC, believes beach patrols will have a hard time getting a grip on a community that has always had beer on the beach.
"I just don't know how they're going to enforce it," said Little. "I don't see the drinking stopping at all. It will definitely decrease but it's not going to just end."
As of July 5th, the alcohol ban is scheduled to last through the rest of the summer until Labor Day.