SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - An underground nightclub in San Francisco was shutdown for operating during the city's COVID-19 public health order, which required all non-essential businesses to close.
The San Francisco City Attorney's Office recently learned that the club was operating in the Bayview district out of an industrial building at 2266 Shafter Avenue.
A subsequent investigation from April 4 to April 6, revealed that more than 150 people had visited the location during the early morning hours. Investigators found that none of the patrons practiced social distancing. During certain times, surveillance video showed between 20 to 30 cars arriving and leaving from in front of the club.
Then on April 8, an investigator noticed similar activity, cars coming and going from the property, and people not adhering to social distancing guidelines, officials said. Loud music was also heard coming from inside the building.
A witness who was interviewed by the City Attorney’s Office said on March 15 around 3:15 a.m. they heard five gunshots in rapid succession near the club. They also said that activity on the nights of April 4 and April 5 was particularly raucous.
As one step to help mitigate the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19, bars and nightclubs were forced to close under San Francisco's public health order issued on March 16 and later expanded through May 3.
“This pandemic is deadly serious. People need to treat it that way,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. Adding, "Cramming dozens of people into an illegal club during this outbreak is like dropping a lit match in the woods during fire season."
Herrera's office said the building was not permitted for entertainment uses. It lacked proper sprinklers, fire alarms and exits for a building open to the public, according to the attorney for the property owner.
According to court documents, the tenant operating the club had told the property owner he was using the building to store materials for his janitorial company.
On Friday, Herrera was able to get a civil inspection and abatement warrant from a judge to shutdown the illegal night club.
The following day, officers entered the building and seized DJ equipment, two fog machines, nine gambling machines with a total of $670 cash inside, two pool tables, bins of liquor, cases of beer, and furniture, among other items.
“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,” said Chief William Scott 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.”