The city council in this Charleston County beach community voted Tuesday night to put a lid on alcohol consumption on the beach.
Folly Beach was among the last Carolinas beach communities to permit alcohol use.
Before a large crowd that packed the city hall chambers, the council voted to ban alcohol use on the beach through Labor Day. Council voted down a less-stringent proposal that would have prohibited alcohol consumption only on weekends.
The Charleston Post and Courier reported that the emergency ordinance adopted Tuesday came in the wake of a disruptive Fourth of July gathering in Folly Beach. Seven people were arrested, and five law enforcement officers -- four Folly Beach police officers and a Charleston County sheriff’s deputy -- were injured.
Town officials said at the meeting that they collected more than 100 pounds of garbage after the party.
They said four tour buses arrived at Folly Beach on the morning of July 4, and a large group of people piled out of the buses onto the beach. Residents complained about noise and unruly behavior by drunker party-goers.
The Post and Courier reported that Public Safety Chief Dennis Brown said his department was hard-pressed to deal with the large gathering. Speaking of his officers, Brown said, “They were beaten. They were bruised. Two of them still can’t work.”
Residents said alcohol and drug use and bad behavior has grown recently.
“I never thought I’d see the day when Folly Beach could make Myrtle Beach look classy,” resident Andy Norman said, according to the Charleston paper.
Other beaches in the Charleston area prohibit alcohol use at the shore. Alcohol also is prohibited on all Horry County beaches, and on beaches in Brunswick County in North Carolina.
In early July, Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin wrote on the town’s website that he was concerned about the problems caused by drinking.
“Alcohol is at the root of many of our crimes and emergencies,” Goodwin said. “One-third of our arrests involve alcohol.”