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Charleston, Isle of Palms change bans on live, amplified music to 11 p.m.

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Bargoers line up outside of the Silver Dollar along King Street on Aug. 20, 2020, in Charleston. As of Sept. 23, bars and restaurants can now play live or amplified music up to 11 p.m. in Charleston and on Isle of Palms. File/Gavin McIntyre/Staff

Restaurants and bars in the city of Charleston and on Isle of Palms can now play amplified music until 11 p.m.

Both respective city councils eased restrictions Tuesday and now align with Gov. Henry McMaster's 11 p.m. statewide ban on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants. 

Charleston Councilman William Dudley Gregorie was the lone vote against the relaxed music restrictions. As of July 14, bars and restaurants were to stop playing amplified music or stop live music at 9 p.m.

"For me it just doesn't make sense to relax now simply because our numbers are going down," Gregorie said. "The numbers are going down because of the actions this city and council took. For us to say, 'Oh, everything's great now' — I strongly, strongly, strongly disagree." 

Charleston continued it's state of emergency ordinance but also relaxed the 10-person group gathering limitations. As of Sept. 25, the city will instead rely on McMaster's public gathering requirements. 

Under McMaster's most recent executive order, gatherings are permitted of up to 250 people or 50 percent of fire marshal occupancy limits, whichever is less. 

The city's on-going state of emergency, re-upped Tuesday, allows the city to recoup financial assistance if the Federal Emergency Management Agency issues funding. It also allows restaurants to continue using sidewalks for additional seating.

Tracy McKee, Charleston's chief innovation officer, told City Council on Tuesday night the county's positivity rate over the last two weeks has dropped from 11 percent to 7 percent. That comes as over the last two weeks Charleston County schools and the College of Charleston resumed in-person classes. 

Isle of Palms City Council also rolled back their live music restriction Tuesday night, now to 11 p.m. As of July 15, the city had decreed live and amplified music had to be turned off by 10 p.m. 

The city of Folly Beach this month also lifted their 9 p.m. prohibition. In June, Folly Beach was the first to ban “noise from any musician, musical instrument, television, radio, CD player or other device or apparatus making or reproducing musical or other sounds.”

The beach town's ban applied to live entertainment, including live music, DJs, karaoke, bingo and trivia competitions. There was a $100 fine for violating the ordinance the first two times, and the possibility that a bar or restaurant would have it's business license suspended after the third violation.

The ban on live music ended Sept. 8, Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said Wednesday.

Goodwin said the reason was to "ease up on restrictions and ease into some sense of normalcy."

Goodwin said the city's normal noise ordinance — no loud noise after 10:00 p.m. or before 10:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday or after 11:00 p.m. or before 10:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday (and Sunday if the following Monday is a recognized holiday) — is back in effect.

Folly has also eased parking restrictions, too, allowing off-street parking from Monday through Thursday but limiting parking to Arctic Avenue and paid parking lots on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island didn't have additional bans on live or amplified music this summer.

A review of agendas and emergency ordinances passed in Mount Pleasant does not show a ban on live or amplified music. 

Sullivan's Island Town Administrator Andy Benke said it was a "non-issue" because the restaurant and bar offerings are "not the setting for live bands or music."

Reach Mikaela Porter at 843-937-5906. Follow her on Twitter @mikaelareporter. 

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