Paterson police raided several nightclubs -- and closed a couple -- that they said were packed with patrons in violation of social distancing regulations, among other offenses.
More than 300 people were packed into Besan Café on East Railway Avenue club one night when police showed up one night -- and more than 160 the next time, Speziale said.
That wasn't all, he said.
Summonses were issued for not having an entertainment license, smoking in public and creating or maintaining a dangerous condition, he said.
The Gypsy Lounge on Getty Avenue club also was closed after police found more than 70 people inside and an open fire pit in the middle of an enclosed area, the director said. Summonses were issued for not having an entertainment or dance hall license, smoking indoors, creating a safety danger and maintaining a nuisance, he said.
Others clubs were permitted to remain open but were issued several violation notices after police and firefighters showed up.
La Chiflada, on Dover Street, for instance, was cited for providing hookahs for indoor smoking, while Casa Montego on Union Avenue received summonses for overcrowding in violation of COVID-19 regulation, not having a dance hall or pool table license and serving alcohol on the patio after 8 p.m., Speziale said.
Fire inspectors cited Tease Gentlemen’s Club, on 168 Getty Avenue, for a code violation, he added said.
Commander Eric Montoya of the city Police Department's Alcoholic Beverage Control headed the series of compliance and public safety inspections amid citizens complaints "concerning quality of life and safety concerns due to overcrowding creating a lack of social distancing, excessive-loud music into the early hours of the morning, parking and fights," the director said.
"We have worked to hard to slow the spread of the virus and will not stand for any establishment that doesn't comply with capacity requirements," Mayor Andre Sayegh added. "This operation is an example of how adamant we are about enforcement and quality of life."
Charges involving social distancing violations were being forward to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office for further action, he and Speziale said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.