City Attorney Herrera moves to shut down illegal party

Promoter says event already canceled but Eventbrite page couldn’t be deleted immediately

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is accusing a party promoter of organizing an illegal party for this Friday, amid the mandatory statewide shelter-in-place due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and is calling on the promoter to cancel the party.

According to a listing on Eventbrite.com, event promoter Set San Francisco is selling nonrefundable tickets for a party called “Lehar (Afterlife, Multinotes, Diynamic) at 251 Rhode Island St., allegedly ranging from $5 to $780, which includes a package of 8 tickets, 2 bottles and a “VIP booth.”

Herrera is ordering the promoter to remove the online listing, and notify everyone who bought tickets that the event has been canceled and refund them their money.

“How someone acts in a crisis says a lot about them,” Herrera said in a statement. “The individuals behind this party have either completely failed in their responsibility to the public, are engaged in a cynical scheme to rip off people knowing this event will never happen, or are putting lives at risk in a dangerous attempt to profit off a public health emergency.”

“All of those are unacceptable. Putting 200 people together in a club is the exact wrong thing to do right now. It would create a powder keg for this virus to explode across our communities. We’re not about to let that happen,” Herrera said.

In addition, Herrera sent a letter on Tuesday to the owner of the event space, 251 Rhode Island Street LLC, further ordering them to cancel the event and to stop promoting it. According to the event space’s website, however, the space is closed.

According to Christian Pineiro, owner of Set San Francisco, he moved to cancel the event more than a week ago. Since then, however, he’s been bed-ridden after testing positive for COVID-19.

“No one is trying to do any type of events right now,” he said. “This has been blown out of proportion.”

According to Pineiro, he had previously agreed to cancel the event, along with the owners of 251 Cocktail Club. Following the decision to cancel, the owners then moved to delete a Facebook event page made for the party.

Pineiro said after that, a glitch on Eventbrite.com wouldn’t allow him to access the party’s event page and cancel it. Although he remains ill, he said he’s already contacted Eventbrite to remove the listing and to refund eventgoers’ money.

While the Eventbrite listing was available as of Wednesday morning, the page has since been deleted.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Eventbrite said, “We have removed this event from our platform. The health and safety of our community is our focus and we advise everyone to follow all government-issued practices.”

Rick Haynes, owner of 251 Cocktail Club, said he moved to close his space since the shelter-in-place order took effect last week. Additionally, a statement on the venue’s website said, “Like most other bars in California, we are currently closed and waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to re-open as soon as we are given the okay by state and local authorities.”

Haynes seemed dumbfounded as to why Herrera admonished his club and Set San Francisco Wednesday, when Haynes said he spent a considerable amount of time on Tuesday speaking with a San Francisco police officer, assuring them that event was not taking place.

“This is not good for our business,” Haynes said. “They’re making us look really bad.”

As the shelter-in-place order given by city leaders in San Francisco reaches its eighth day, leaders are continuing to urge residents to stay in their homes, and only go out for essential items like food, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Failure to comply with order could potentially result in a fine of up to $1,000, a misdemeanor charge, and possibly jail time for as much as a year.

“Local businesses have been overwhelmingly cooperative with the shelter in place orders now in effect, and most San Franciscans know that social distancing isn’t solely necessary to protect their own life and safety — it’s to protect everyone,” San Francisco police Chief William Scott said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional response from the party promoter.

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