(The Center Square) – Two bills in the South Carolina Legislature would allow for the delivery of alcohol and curbside pickup.
HB 3575 would allow grocery stores and retail chains to sell alcohol, beer and wine either separately or as part of larger orders. It came about as part of Gov. Henry McMaster’s efforts to expand curbside grocery service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill would make permanent a provision of McMaster’s emergency order that temporarily has been allowing the practice.
Rep. Micah Caskey, R-West Columbia, the bill’s sponsor, told WBCD-TV the bill is an effort to carry forward some of the lessons the state has learned during the past year.
“During the pandemic, a lot of terrible things have happened, and my heart breaks for that,” he said. “I think it’s important to learn the lessons of the pandemic, and realize, here’s the thing that we were doing that could be better. What we are trying to do is take those positive lessons and integrate that into how we live life ordinarily going forward.”
Stores would be required to check the driver’s identification at the time of delivery to make sure the person is old enough. Bars and restaurants, however, would not be permitted to offer the service under the bill.
More than half the states in the country allow the practice.
“South Carolinians want these Prohibition-era regulations off the books,” Americans for Prosperity-South Carolina said in a statement. “If it’s safe to remove these barriers during a pandemic, they should be removed permanently.”
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce also supports the measures.
HB 3575 would allow same-day delivery of beer and wine, similar to grocery deliveries. Proponents said the bill should be approved because South Carolinians already can order wine, for example, from a wine-of-the-month club.
The legislation, however, does come with several stipulations.
Deliveries could be made by only licensed same-day or third-party delivery services. Drivers would have to be age 21 or older, pass a background check and be required to check the customer’s ID to make sure they legally can buy alcohol.
The driver also would have to ensure the customer is not already intoxicated. If a person ordered Sunday delivery, the city or county of their residence already would have to allow Sunday alcohol sales, since not all in South Carolina do.
Deliveries could not be made to churches, playgrounds, schools or college campus housing.