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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Gov. Mark Sanford will allow liquor stores to remain open on New Year's Day, a move his office said is meant to help S.C. small business, reported the Charleston Post Courier.
Advocates of the change say it evens out the alcohol sales market since bars, taverns, clubs, convenience stores and supermarkets can already sell liquor, beer and wine on New Year's Day, the report stated.
This new decision follows six months after Sanford broke with gubernatorial tradition and allowed liquor stores to operate on the Fourth of July -- a move many said was a modern-day first in South Carolina, according to the newspaper.
Contrary to popular belief, selling liquor on observed holidays is legal unless the governor issues an executive order ruling it out. That power comes under a little-known state law empowering South Carolina governors to shut the stores at any time "in the interest of law and order or public morals and decorum," according to the report.
Sanford made them close on Christmas and Thanksgiving this year. But Sanford spokesman Will Folks said the governor decided to change gears for New Year's Day in the interest of fair competition, the Courierreported.
"As he did on the Fourth of July, the governor is not issuing that executive order, meaning stores can stay open if they choose," Folks said Monday. "He looks at this as a balancing act between protecting the interests of small businesses while at the same time properly observing religious holidays in our state."