Illegal San Francisco Nightclub Busted for Operating During Lockdown

'Like dropping a lit match in the woods during fire season,' city attorney says

Illegal San Francisco Nightclub Busted for Operating During Lockdown
Screengrab from surveillance footage released by the City Attorney of San Francisco showing patrons outside an illegal nightclub in the Bayview District of San Francisco, Calif., on April 4, 2020. (City Attorney of San Francisco)
Tom Ozimek

San Francisco authorities shut down an underground nightclub for violating a lockdown order put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"Cramming dozens of people into an illegal club during this outbreak is like dropping a lit match in the woods during fire season," City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in an April 13 statement.

The City Attorney's Office stated that one of its investigators was dispatched to the Bayview area property and, in the early morning of April 8, found vehicles coming and going from the property "and groups of people not practicing social distancing."

"Who knows how far the damage will spread? It’s the epitome of irresponsibility," Herrera said, pointing to evidence in the form of time-lapse surveillance video from April 4–5 that he said shows more than 150 people going into the illegal nightclub over a period of 48 hours.

The footage shows vehicles and people streaming outside a pink-painted industrial building.

“There was a party every night,” Monte Travis, an attorney for the building’s landlords, told The San Francisco Chronicle.

Activity on the nights of April 4–5 "was particularly raucous," while several weeks back, a witness reported hearing "five gunshots in rapid succession near the club," the attorney's office said.

In addition to allegedly operating in violation of a lockdown imposed on March 16 to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus and cause of the disease COVID-19, the facility isn't permitted for entertainment uses.

"It lacks proper sprinklers, fire alarms, and exits for a building open to the public," the attorney's office stated, adding that the tenant told the property owner the building would be used to store janitorial materials.

“This pandemic is deadly serious. People need to treat it that way,” Herrera said, noting that after authorities executed a warrant and entered the building, they found and seized DJ equipment, two fog machines, and nine gambling machines with $670 in cash inside.

Other seized items include two pool tables, bins of liquor, cases of beer, and bar furniture.

Ahead of the raid on the facility, police observed social distancing violations in the form of security guards "frisking each visitor."

“The operators of this illegal club senselessly put lives at risk in a time when our city is doing everything within our means to slow the spread of this pandemic and safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in a statement.

“Let this case be a reminder that we will take action against those who knowingly violate the public health order and endanger the health and safety of our residents,” he added.

Entertainment venues, including bars and nightclubs, are forbidden to operate under an order issued on March 16 and expanded on March 31, aiming to contain the spread of the virus.

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.