Customers sharing concern over Aura Nightclub in San Jose amid COVID-19 crisis met with confrontation

Recent public posts shared on social media promote several weekend parties at a downtown San Jose club.

Amanda del Castillo Image
Friday, July 17, 2020
Coronavirus: Customers concerned over parties at Bay Area nightclub
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In the South Bay, there's continued push back against the Downtown San Jose venue Aura Nightclub.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, there's continued push back against a Downtown San Jose venue. Recent public posts shared on social media promote several weekend parties at Aura Nightclub, Kitchen and Bar.

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ABC7 News found an event flyer for a patio party on the 3rd of July, another for the 11th, and a promotion for a Summer Day Party on the 12th. Information on each flyer directed guests to Aura.

As it stands, current County Public Health orders allow outdoor dining with mandatory directives.

However, long-time Aura patrons shared growing concern after noticing a now-deleted post to the venue's Instagram page. Content shared with ABC7 News included a video, showing crowds.

"These people were just like, shots, shots out of the same bottle," Ruby Castillo shared. "I was looking at the video and there was no distancing no mask wearing."

Castillo was not present for any potential party, but mentioned she is a long-time Aura customer who felt the need to respond to the post with her concerns.

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She wrote, "I love you guys, Aura! But when in times like this, y'all gotta be more careful. This isn't 6-ft apart seating and y'all gonna get shut down for this. Or your employees gonna get sick. Please don't be a reason why Santa Clara County has to stop outdoor seating."

ABC7 News has reached out to Aura and its management repeatedly- hoping to learn when the video was recorded, and why the following, now-deleted responses were ever shared.

A man named Armando, who identifies himself online as the Aura Lounge Operations Director, replied to Castillo's comment, saying, "F*** off." He continued, "You wacks," and "F*** your uneducated comment."

Another Instagram user commented in-part, "Be smart y'all. This ain't it," to which the Aura SJ account replied, "Lol smart... lol who the f*** is you."

Anyone who posted their worry was seemingly met with aggression.

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After several attempts to offer Armando and Aura a chance to respond, an unidentified person replied using the Aura SJ Instagram account. The single message explained in-part, "Not interested in making any comments at this time... I will contact you next week and discuss your concerns and matters on this topic... enjoy your weekend."

Per the mandatory directive issued by the County Public Health Department, its order issued on July 2nd imposes several restrictions on all businesses and activities, including:

  • The Social Distancing Protocol
  • Signage
  • Face Coverings
  • And Density Limitation

Specifically, under Density Limitation, the order requires, "All businesses must limit the number of people who may be at the facility at the same time. For staff members, the limit is 1 person per 250 gross square feet of indoor facility space (this means total space, including areas open only to staff like storage rooms).

For customers, the limit is 1 person per 150 square feet of indoor space open to the public. The density requirements tell businesses how many people (staff or clients) they can let into their facility before another person leaves.

This Directive describes a limited exception to the density limitation applicable only to food facilities."

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It's unclear when the video shared to, then deleted from Aura SJ's Instagram was actually recorded. However, the crowd of people in the video were not social distancing in a way that is required today. Without answers from Aura, Castillo referred back to the combative responses.

"He told me, 'Just don't come back if you don't like it. Let us drink in peace,'" she explained. "He even sent me a private message."

Castillo shared that private message with ABC7 News.

Armando's message read, "I say let us drink and go find a way to go ***k yourself... always there's always... always.... One b**** a** dumb f****** up my comment."

Posting publicly, he wrote, "Stay hm then."

These conversations have since been deleted. However, those involved have shared screenshots to corroborate the exchanges.

ABC7 News was directed to the San Jose City Manager's Office for answers about whether any reports have been filed against Aura Nightclub, Kitchen and Bar. A spokesperson tells ABC7 News an answer is expected on Friday.

UPDATE: Shortly after this story aired during the ABC7 broadcast at 11 p.m. on Thursday, the Aura SJ Instagram account published a post addressing "haters." The caption on the post read, "Much love to the real ones out there! I appreciate... we all have choices so to each his own." By Friday morning, Aura SJ's Instagram account went private, only accessible to approved followers.

In an update from SJPD, Sgt. Enrique Garcia explained, "We didn't receive a call for service. However, San Jose police officers proactively conducted a compliance check of the business on July 11th, and warned them about County COVID requirements. Officers submitted a report to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for review."

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