Don't get any ideas about throwing speakeasy-style parties during San Francisco's shelter-in-place order, party people! San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is making an example of one such party scheduled for Friday which was selling $5 tickets on Eventbrite.
The party was titled "Lehar (Multinotes, Diynamic, Afterlife)," and in defiance of city and state emergency orders to enforce social distancing, it was supposed to happen at 251 Rhode Island Street on March 27, and there were apparently VIP packages being sold for $780 with "two premium bottles" and a special booth. The Eventbrite listing indicated that 200 presale tickets were being sold.
"There have been many acts of decency, kindness and quiet heroism as San Franciscans try to keep their neighbors safe during this pandemic. This party, unfortunately, isn’t one of them," says Herrera in a statement. "How someone acts in a crisis says a lot about them. 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."
The party promoter allegedly told police that the party had been canceled, however the Eventbrite listing stayed up through Wednesday morning and no apparent notice had been given to people who had purchased tickets.
There seems to be reason for concern that this promoter was going to try to continue being sneaky with this event, according to the SFPD. Police Chief William Scott said in a statement, "Local businesses have been overwhelmingly cooperative with the shelter in place orders now in effect... Unfortunately, it appears there may be scofflaws who either don't know or don't care. Today's preemptive move by City Attorney Dennis Herrera sends a strong message to any would-be wrongdoer that City agencies are working in close coordination to enforce the emergency order and protect public health."
Herrera says that his office is seeking information from the property owner about the promoters of the party, and warns that if the property owner does not make sure the event is canceled they will be held liable for violating the public health order — which comes with a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
The website for 251 Rhode Island Street lists the space as a "private event venue and bar" called 251 Cocktail Club. The website says the space is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus crisis.