Great White have apologized for playing a controversial show with no social distancing, mandatory masks or other COVID-19 safety protocols.

“Great White would like to address our Thursday, July 9, at First on First Dickinson Summer Nights concert in North Dakota,” the band wrote in a statement. “We understand that there are some people who are upset that we performed this show, during this trying time. We assure you that we worked with the Promoter. North Dakota’s government recommends masks be worn, however, we are not in a position to enforce the laws. We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagree with our decision to fulfill our contractual agreement.”

The band continued, “The Promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions. Our intent was simply to perform our gig, outside, in a welcoming, small town. We value the health and safety of each and every one of our fans, as well as our American and global community. We are far from perfect.”

As Great White noted, the show was part of Dickinson, N.D.’s “First on First” series, which, according to event coordinator April Getz, has not established any safety restrictions. “We do not have restrictions, believe it or not, we don’t have any,” she told The Dickinson Press. “It’s one of those things where if people feel comfortable coming down and mixing and mingling, that’s their personal choice. We’re leaving it up to everybody that chooses to attend.”

Video from the event shows attendees in close proximity without masks. The usage of face coverings and social distancing continues to divide the American public, despite clear recommendations from the CDC, prominent health officials and some state governments. Meanwhile, as of Sunday, the total number of COVID-19 cases has swelled past 3.2 million in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins University.

Watch Great White’s July 9, 2020 “First on First” Concert

Great White were onstage during a February 2003 show in West Warwick, R.I. that resulted in a fire, killing 100 people — including their guitarist Ty Longley. The blaze, which also injured 200 others, began after pyrotechnics set off by their tour manager ignited the club’s foam ceiling.

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