New late-night law for downtown Charleston businesses takes effect next month

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:16 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston wants to help businesses that operate late into the evenings prepare for the start of a new ordinance that takes effect just before Valentine’s Day.

City leaders will hold an open house for business owners on Thursday ahead of the deadline for Late-Night Establishment Permit applications. The new requirement came with a recent update to the long-standing ordinance. The city defines a late-night establishment as any business that serves alcohol and operates past midnight.

Charleston Police Capt. Jason Bruder said the new update to the ordinance, which passed in mid-September, includes additional guidelines for how and where to staff security. He says it provides a guide on how much security needs to be in place and requires businesses to create a safety plan to prevent underage drinking and ensure crowd control.

Bruder said the new ordinance is also easier to enforce by adding consequences based on the specific violations officers were observing.

New and existing businesses must apply for the new Late Night Establishment Operational Permit by Feb. 13.

The purpose of Thursday’s open house is to answer questions for businesses that need to go through the process, and neighbors who live near a late-night establishment, he said.

“It’s not new, but its going to be new for a lot of people to go through a process, to put together a plan that has all these details in it, and just have the people that are involved with the process available for questions and meet the people that are going to be coming out and answering the questions of the community,” Bruder said.

The open house is from 10 a.m. to noon and will be held at 2 George Street in the public meeting room.

For more information about the new ordinance, and the open house, click here.