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Gov. McMaster lifts ban on bars selling alcohol after 11 p.m., allows large gatherings without approval effective Monday

David Ferrara, News Editor

The South Carolina State House in Columbia.

Governor Henry McMaster announced Friday afternoon that bars may resume selling alcohol after 11 p.m. and that organizers of gatherings greater than 250 will no longer need to seek approval from the state, effective Monday, March 1.

Restaurants were previously required to stop selling alcohol earlier in the evening due to a ‘last call’ order in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, any event organizers with over 250 people in attendance were required to receive approval from the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

McMaster asserted that the measures are no longer necessary due to decreasing case rates around the country and vaccination of at-risk groups in the state.

“The virus is still among us and we all must continue to make responsible decisions to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, but those decisions are for South Carolinians to make,” read a tweet sent out by McMaster after announcing the change.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control continues to recommend that organizers limit occupancy to 50% and below 250 people, as well as require face coverings for all employees and patrons.

The Tiger has reached out to Clemson City Attorney Mary McCormac for information about how the governor’s lifting of the ban will affect the city’s own COVID-19 safety ordinances.

The Clemson City Council meets on Monday and will be discussing whether to extend the ordinance after having extended it for only 30 days following contentious public comment.

Clemson University has required since early on in the pandemic that any event including 50 or more participants be reviewed and approved. The Tiger is awaiting a response from university spokesperson Philip Sikes about any changes that will result from the Governor’s lifting of prior restrictions.

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