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Rock band Great White apologizes after playing show with no COVID-19 precautions

Terry Ilous (L) and Mark Kendall of Great White performs at DTE Energy Music Theater on Aug. 28, 2014 in Clarkston, Mich.
Terry Ilous (L) and Mark Kendall of Great White performs at DTE Energy Music Theater on Aug. 28, 2014 in Clarkston, Mich. Scott Legato/Getty Images

American rock band Great White has apologized for performing at an outdoor North Dakota concert where the crowd didn’t wear masks despite the ongoing threat of the novel coronavirus.

The band drew criticism on social media after the performance Thursday night as part of the First on First: Dickinson Summer Nights concert series in Dickinson — a city in the state’s southwest.

Spin Magazine posted video showing the crowd packed in and not wearing face masks.

“We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagreed with our decision to fulfill our contractual agreement. The promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions,” Great White said in a statement on Saturday.

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Although North Dakota health officials recommend physical distancing and wearing masks when possible, there is no legal requirement to do so in the state, and Great White said the band nevertheless was “not in a position to enforce the laws.”

Read more: John Wayne exhibit to be removed over actor’s racist remarks

The band is best known for its 1985 version of the 1975 Ian Hunter classic Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

A different iteration of Great White that included longtime frontman Jack Russell — and that performed under the name Jack Russell’s Great White — was involved in one of the most tragic concerts in U.S. history in 2003.

During a show at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island, the band’s pyrotechnics sparked a fast-moving blaze that caused a bottleneck as fans tried to flee. The fire killed 100 people.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

Read more: Bon Jovi releases powerful protest song ‘American Reckoning’

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

Coronavirus: The show must go on? How the entertainment industry is dealing with the pandemic
Coronavirus: The show must go on? How the entertainment industry is dealing with the pandemic

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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— With files from Global News