BALOG COLUMN: Booze ban should stay for holidays
They say that running marathons and giving birth have this in common: youíre not ready to do either again until you forget the pain from the last one.
Drinking on Folly Beach should be the same way.
Instead, thereís already a movement to amend the ban on booze on the beach.
Itís been all of six months since the emergency 60-day ban went into effect on July 10, after some over-served folks got a little too rowdy on the beach during the Fourth of July holiday, and their arrests were posted on YouTube.
Nearly 500 residents had signed a petition in favor of the ban last summer. Yes, there was supposed to be a Nov. 6 referendum, but City Council just decided to make the ban permanent instead.
Sometime between July and September, some folks already had buyerís remorse, even though the beer hasnít even had a chance to get warm yet. An earlier online petition to repeal the ban got 93 signatures before it closed four months ago.
Now thereís a petition with about 200 signatures, according to Omar Colon, owner of Bertís Market.
Theyíre looking to restore drinking on the beach in a limited fashion, as Schuyler Kropf reported this week. The proposal would continue to ban alcohol consumption on the beach from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends from May 1 to mid-September, and would also ban alcohol consumption on the beach on Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day.
If that structure were to be approved, count on an increase in tickets from people who just donít want to read the fine print on the sign.
You can appreciate why Colon would want the ban repealed.
But if people are still renting houses, and it looks like they are, thatís still a huge customer base. Anybody whoís ever rented a beach house knows that you can count on daily trips to the grocery store. Bertís still has the edge on that for the folks who donít want to cross the bridge.
If business in the city is suffering and people are losing jobs, thatís reason to take a look at the ban.
But the mayor says tourism-related tax revenues are stable despite the ban. And as a bonus, people are happier on the beach.
Maybe these folks who signed the latest petition were the few who didnít have drunks using their yards as impromptu bathrooms.
A little patience
People will still go to Folly Beach. That much was obvious last weekend from the summer-like traffic on Folly Road, which matched the spring-like temperatures.
Maybe if everybody had a bit more breathing room, we wouldnít be where we are now.
But when people were coming in on party buses, that certainly upped the ante. And with the more family friendly beach setting of Folly Beach County Park not available, something had to give.
Folly should let the ban stay in place, at least through Memorial Day and the July Fourth holiday. Give it a chance to work during the silly season and then decide where to go from there.
Reach Melanie Balog at 937-5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.