Horry County bar owners who stay open past 2 a.m. don’t agree with proposed rule change

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Some Horry County bar owners don’t like a proposed ordinance that would force businesses that serve alcohol to close down at 2am.

County attorneys say heavy drinking tends to be a problem in areas with businesses like that and they say it leads to dangerous situations.

Some business owners in the county say this proposed ordinance surprised them.

A local bar that often stays open past the proposed 2am closing call says changing the law would not only hurt business but those whose job it is to serve others.

“We like to cater to service industry people, we know a lot of them work until 11, 12, 12:30 at night, they need a place to go,” said Steve Rowe, a manager at Remedies Bar and Grill.

Rowe says they often stay open late, “it depends on the crowd, if it’s a slow crowd we close at two, but there are days we stay open a lot later.”

Right now, Horry County doesn’t limit the hours bars can operate. County leaders say that can present problems.

“We have seen quite a bit of crime when it comes to a large amount of consumption of alcohol,” said Horry County spokesperson, Lisa Bourcier.

Rowe admits he has seen some problems arise over the years, “but you keep track of who’s coming in you don’t over serve anyone and you keep everything in check.”

The county has public nuisance laws that can shut down places where violence or drug activity has been a proven problem; and Rowe doesn’t want all establishments lumped in together.

“I believe we do a good business here, there’s other good businesses out there that are doing the right thing, they shouldn’t suffer,” said Rowe.

The rule change would only impact unincorporated parts of the county. Myrtle Beach has no such regulations for most bars and Rowe says it’s not fair to single out certain areas.

“If it’s a county-wide ordinance, it should include everyone,” said Rowe, “if you work second shift or third shift that doesn’t make you a criminal.”

The public safety commission plans to study the issue before making a final decision.

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