McMaster lifts restrictions on late-night restaurant, bar alcohol sales, large gatherings

Updated: Feb. 26, 2021 at 6:41 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster is lifting his “Last Call” order as well as restrictions on large social gatherings.

The decision lifts a restriction that required restaurants and bars to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m.

The governor also said restrictions on large gatherings are also being lifted effective Monday. That will mean that South Carolina Department of Commerce approval for events involving more than 250 people will no longer be required.

The governor made the announcement Friday afternoon. The change takes effect Monday.

McMaster imposed the 11 p.m. cutoff in his Executive Order 2020-45 on July 11. When it took effect, it prevented those businesses from selling alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption between the hours of 11 p.m. and 10 a.m.

Restaurant and bar owners have been calling on the governor to remove the restriction.

The South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association sent a letter to McMaster back in December urging him to lift the order ahead of New Year’s Eve. But he kept the order in place.

During a Feb. 15 news conference, McMaster said he hoped to lift the “last call” order “soon,” but was still looking into data like vaccination rates and hospitalizations before making that decision.

The restriction were put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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