SC: Rising liquor liability rates causing businesses to suffer, others say the law is needed
by: Elise Devlin
September 14, 2023
GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The state of South Carolina requires any business that serves alcohol after 5 p.m. to maintain liquor liability insurance of at least $1 million. This insurance pays out any damages that a victim suffers. But because of this, the businesses say they’re suffering.
Businesses like Sushi Murasaki said like many other restaurants, they are still facing challenges left behind from the pandemic and its impact on the economy.
“Rent is an issue, certainly insurance is an issue that needs more and more attention these days, maintenance issues, contract, staffing, all of that comes together so for us every component that causes extra expenses, is something we’re looking at very carefully,” said Harold Schmiet, Sushi Murasaki.
They said the $1 million liquor liability insurance is just another burden, and that many businesses have been forced to shut down because they can’t afford the liability insurance.
Groups like SC Venue Crisis have formed to fight for a change.
“This can be a make or break for a small business, I mean with rent increases, with the inflation and everything else going on in the world it’s hard to justify or even afford an increase like this for liquor liability,” said Asheton Reid, director of community outreach at SC Venue Crisis.
But organizations like MADD SC, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving, want everyone to remember why this law was put into place.
“We think it’s wonderful that South Carolina is reflecting that the one person who is not going to lose out in this are victims and that’s what people are trying to change and we think that’s shameful,” said Steven Burritt, executive director of MADD SC. “The last group of people who should ever have to be the solution on how this problem is fixed, should never be the people who have been innocently and violently injured or lost a loved one. That cannot be accepted in our eyes in any way, shape or form.”