COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - State lawmakers are debating two bills that some say would make it safer and easier to get beer and wine.
The first bill would allow the use of grocery delivery services to order wine and beer, while the second would allow curbside pickup. The bills have already passed the committee and are scheduled to be debated on the House floor.
There is bipartisan support for both bills.
Curbside pick-up is currently allowed due to an executive order by Gov. Henry McMaster but the bill would make this a permanent change.
Piggly Wiggly Owner Darrell Miller says delivery and curbside are very popular currently.
“Our curbside and delivery has probably doubled because that has become a very popular thing for people to do,” Miller says.
Delivery and curbside pickup of alcohol has been a topic in the store, according to Miller.
“Customers have asked about it ever since they had issues with COVID and they weren’t able to get tins as readily until before. But up until now, we haven’t been able to accommodate,” Miller said.
Rep. Beth Bernstein (D-Richland) says the bills will benefit groups such as working mothers and the elderly.
“Working mothers, mothers who had busy schedules who were already having Shipt and Instacart and have their groceries delivered and they needed to be able to have beer and wine, but since the COVID crisis the elderly individuals didn’t feel comfortable going to the store,” Bernstein said.
Still, others are worried that the bills would make it easier for minors to gain access to alcohol.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division says they are worried the delivery bill will make it easier for minors to get alcohol while making it harder to track illegal sales.
Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood) said preventing minors from getting alcohol is one of his concerns.
“We need to make sure, first of all, that we don’t have minors getting ahold of alcohol who don’t need it and using it irresponsibly, but we want to prevent that first of all,” McCravy said.
Supporters of the bill say the delivery services will keep tabs on the orders.
“That’s not going to happen under the way we have this statute set up, so we are trying to take every precaution, so it won’t be going easier for a minor to obtain alcohol because of the same rigorous requirements that are required in person or even more demanding,” Bernstein says.
Bernstein says the delivery bill is the most stringent of its kind and drivers would be required to scan ids before handing the delivery over.
“It would take the person who is delivering the alcohol to make sure the person he or she is delivering to is at least 21 years of age, and the ID is scanned. The person delivering the beer and wine would also have to be at least 21 years of age,” Bernstein says.
McCravy is also cautioning against the wrong people gaining more access.
“Second of all we need to think about whether we are going to proliferate alcohol in our state right now. In the middle of this pandemic we have increased domestic abuse and other stuff going on,” McCravy said. “So we need to be careful we don’t proliferate something people already have access to it’s just a question of the wrong people getting it at the wrong time.”
Currently, 40 states have similar legislation including North Carolina and Georgia.
If you’d like to contact a lawmaker about this legislation, the grocery delivery service Shipt has set up a website http://safedeliverysc.com/.