Greenville County Council wants to close bars earlier

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) -The after party may end a lot sooner for bar-hoppers in Greenville County.

County Council introduced an ordinance last night that will cease alcohol servings and close businesses in the county at 2 AM. That is already the law in the cities of Greenville and Mauldin but is not the case in the four other municipalities or the unincorporated area in the county.

“This is a public safety issue,” said Greenville County Councilman Lynn Ballard.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office pulled data showing they get a majority of calls to late night bars after the 2 AM hour.

Ballard says people will often leave bars in the city at two, then go out to places in the county that are open later. He says when more alcohol is involved, disputes escalate, and it also raises a concern about drunk-driving accidents.

“We’re shutting it down,” Ballard said. “We’re not having alcohol consumed in businesses after 2 AM.”

He says as the ordinance is written currently, it includes ceasing operations.

“The ordinance even goes so far as to say room service and hotels,” Ballard said.

He says the ordinance should stop some of the problems.

Data from the sheriff’s office shows that from January 2016 to May 2017, most violent crime calls at certain bars across the county happen between certain hours.

“One of the locations, we had 15 calls for service,” said Sgt. Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. “Out of those 15, 14 of those calls were between 2 and 6 (in the morning).”

He says multiple calls also use a lot of deputy manpower.

“You get a call at the bars and clubs involving large fights or shots fired, we’re going to have to utilize the majority of deputies on the road to get over there for officer safety reasons and to try to diffuse the situation,” Flood said.

Bar owners say it’s important to invest in good security and know the clientele they’re serving.

Rehan Mir, the owner of America’s Pub and Grill on East North Stree, says he’s fine with the 2 AM ordinance. However, he has concerns about how it would be enforced fairly.

“Make sure that nobody has an extra edge with that particular late night crowd because there is a lot of money to be made,” Mir said.

He says the city also needs to take into account people who work different shifts and money made from taxed revenue.

“There is a lot of people who like to go out at late night,” Mir said. “I’m open until three o’clock for example, and we get a pretty big rush right at two.”

Council will have the second reading in two weeks.

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