According to a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Bar, the party should be a mix of first aiders to celebrate their job.
CNN was informed of the event by a source with direct knowledge of the party, who was told that 100 to 150 police officers would be involved in the Sassafras Saloon.
The crowd inside was clearly visible from the sidewalk's windows through the bar windows on Friday evening, drinking cocktails under flashing lights to club music so loud that it vibrated safety bars. The participants entered through the back door, where a small desk with a candle greeted them outside.
The owners of the Sassafras Saloon rented the bar to someone who "wanted to honor a group of first responders," said Lisa Strangis, a spokeswoman for the 1933 Group who owns the bar on North Vine St.
While Strangis said she was unwilling to name which agency the first responders belonged to, she said that the tenants had paid for the room and that the group's 1933 employees had attended the event. Strangis denied that there were 100 people in the bar on Friday night, but declined to provide a number. Strangis also declined to identify the party's host, as this is private information.
"Everyone is either a family or works in the same place, so we have no concerns about Covid," said a man who spoke to CNN on Friday night in front of the bar. "They group or whatever together and everyone has been tested and everything. So we all know that everyone is cool there."
The man who refused to identify himself said: "Everyone is distributed there. Everyone is wearing things. Everyone is getting temperature controls."
CNN saw none of this.
The event took place when California exceeded 500,000 cases of Covid-19 – the highest number of cases in a state, according to Johns Hopkins University. By Sunday, more than 9,300 people had died in the state since the pandemic began.
In a statement to CNN on Sunday, the Los Angeles Ministry of Health said, "We are investigating reports of a private indoor party and are reminding all companies that have been ordered to shut down that there are no exceptions. This is exactly the situation that puts our entire community at unnecessary risk. "
But California is not alone. Cases have increased in many states across the country in recent weeks, with health professionals and officials repeatedly pointing to large gatherings as one of several causes for the spikes in the cases.
The sheriff department denies the participation of MPs
Social media posts claimed Friday's party members were MPs from the Los Angeles District Sheriff Department, which prompted the agency to launch an investigation on Saturday to determine whether MPs had violated the district's health regulations.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the LASD said that the event was not hosted by the department, nor that people posted LASD employees on social media.
"If more details are discovered and action is needed, we will take appropriate administrative action," said the department.
Law enforcement has people who do not take Covid-19 security measures, such as: B. wearing a mask, provided with a ticket. In West Hollywood, LASD MPs issued $ 300 first-off tickets when people aren't wearing masks.
California Governor Gavin Newsom called on his state this week to "wake up" to the reality of the fatal disease as the number of cases increases. The Newsom office and the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, did not respond to CNN's requests for comments on the Friday night event.
On July 13, the governor announced a new round of restrictions, including the cessation of all indoor restaurants and the closing of bars unless meals are served. The state allows eating outdoors in restaurants.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Ordinance also allows outdoor dining in restaurants, bars, or brewpubs where food is served, but requires bar counters to close.
Strangis, spokeswoman for the 1933 group, defended the gathering by saying, "California currently allows terrace service to restaurants and bars with full kitchens. Sassafras is a restaurant and bar with full kitchens so we can work under these conditions. "
Sassafras Saloon lists a menu of dishes on its website.
The 1933 group believed the party was "a wonderful way to celebrate first responders," said Strangis.
"With the size we feel comfortable with, given the premise of the conversation being presented to the owners, it's manageable. So they agreed to let it happen at their venue."