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Charleston’s nighttime entertainment ordinance may soon be updated

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) An ordinance in Charleston that regulates late-night liquor service may soon see an update after nearly 10 years.

City officials are seeking to revise Charleston’s nighttime entertainment ordinance, which applies to bars and restaurants that are licensed to serve alcohol after midnight.

According to Deputy Chief Dustin Thompson of the Charleston Police Department, the revised ordinance would require businesses to develop their own safety plan to submit to the city.

It would also set out other guidelines for businesses to follow after hours.

We talk about the safety and security of your business, cleaning up after yourself, having a contingency plan in place, a security plan and having enough staff in place to handle everything that will happen after noon. at night, Thompson said.

Thompson said if a facility violates the revised ordinance and receives a citation, they will need to meet with city legal staff to hear recommendations on how to make the business safer.

If a business receives a second citation in the same year, Thompson said it could lose its license to serve liquor after midnight.

We never want to come to that, we want to do everything we can to establish a safe environment, Thompson said.

Charlestons’ current nighttime entertainment ordinance was signed into law in 2013. Thompson said recent incidents downtown put more emphasis on the need for change.

I would say a lot of things that triggered this were incidents in our downtown entertainment business district, the deputy chief said. We’ve had fights, shootings, big events and we have to do everything we can to keep the public safe.

A committee made up of city officials from different departments has been working on a revision project for more than a year now. They recently consulted business owners for feedback, including Roy Neal, owner of El Jefe Texican Cantina on King Street.

I think it’s really good. There are a few revisions there, but it’s not one size fits all. If you are a small restaurant, this gives you some flexibility. If you’re a bigger restaurant and have more impact on King Street, then he has some ideas on how to make things better, Neal said.

The Charlestons Business Licensing Committee recommended that the review be submitted to the city council. Officials hope that will happen later this month.

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