27% of South Carolinians support looser open container laws

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A recently released survey found that just over a quarter of South Carolinians support legalizing to-go alcoholic drinks.

The study, conducted by the Laguna Treatment Hospital, surveyed 3,704 people. The highest proportion of South Carolinians in favor of looser open container laws were between the ages of 25 to 34 years old. Those above age 55 expressed the most heavy opposition.

Prior to the pandemic, places like New Orleans were well-known for relaxed open container laws, which permit restaurants to sell to-go drinks that customers can enjoy while strolling Bourbon Street. When COVID-19 hit, many states temporarily relaxed alcohol laws; some, like Florida, Georgia, and Ohio, permanently adopted the new regulations.

Those in favor cite the economic potential that loosening open container laws would bring, especially for restaurants and bars that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

People opposed to the law worry that it could exacerbate, and even create, health problems. 85% of respondents acknowledged that the biggest disadvantage would be the potential rise in drunk driving.