San Francisco police shut down an underground night club they said was operating illegally amid the coronavirus stay-at-home order over the weekend, marking the first warrant issued in The City to enforce the public health order.
The nightclub, run out of a warehouse building at 2266 Shafter Avenue in San Francisco’s Bayview district, has drawn hundreds of people in the early morning hours on several weekends since at least mid March, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
Investigators described hearing loud music and seeing strobe lights, as well as multiple fights and “intoxicated and inebriated” people “stumbling into their cars.” Security guards were also seen patting down people entering the building.
“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,” said Chief William Scott.
“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.”
On Saturday, police executed a search warrant on the building, seizing DJ equipment, fog machines and gambling machines, pool tables, alcohol and other nightclub-related items. No arrests were made, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
“We are going to use every tool at our disposal, including these types of warrants, to protect public health during this pandemic,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “Cramming dozens of people into an illegal club during this outbreak is like dropping a lit match in the woods during fire season.”
The nightclub was operating illegally regardless of the stay-at-home order, as the building was not properly permitted and lacked proper sprinklers, fire alarms and exits, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
Witnesses also reported hearing gunshots, and described “particularly raucous” activity to investigators.
In the search warrant, investigators note that many people wore red clothing including red shoelaces, consistent with the colors of the Norteño street gang.
The tenants operating the building were renting it under the guise of storing materials for a janitorial company and are currently being evicted. The owner of the property has been cooperating with investigators, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
The City Attorney’s Office also took action in December against another illegal nightclub operating in the Bayview at 2110 Palou Ave., forcing the property owner to evict the tenants after months of complaints. There was no shelter-in-place order at that time, but that club was also operating without permits.