The band Spank the Plank performs at White Hart Pub in Surrey on Friday, June 12. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey pub brings bands back as Dr. Henry warns about how singing can spread COVID-19

‘The hardest part is reminding people that they can’t dance, which isn’t easy,’ pub operator says

Surrey’s White Hart Public House is among the first bars in Metro Vancouver to feature live entertainment in the post-COVID world.

The Newton-area pub welcomed back live bands a couple of weeks ago, starting with “house band” The Wingnuts on June 5.

“I think we’re one of the first bars to have live music again, definitely, because we wanted to get ahead of that curve,” said pub operator George Hart. “We knew we could do it safely, so we figured why not, let’s get it going again.”

For now, measures to stop the virus from spreading include clear plastic sheets hung between tables and encouraging physical distancing, among other rules.

“The hardest part is reminding people that they can’t dance, which isn’t easy,” Hart said with a laugh.

(Story continues below)

At a news conference Monday (June 15), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about dancing in nightclubs and bars.

“It is going to be challenging because we know there are some things like dance floors that are not going to happen right now, as well as we know that singing, singing in a group, can be a very dangerous thing for this virus,” Henry said.

“We’ve seen that in a number of places around the world, including recent examples in the States south of us where singing groups in churches, even with physical distancing, have led to transmission of cases, and singing in other situations as well. So those are all things we need to work through, and I know Worksafe is working with the industry to come up with some reasonable guidance for that.”

Restaurants and pubs across the province were allowed to reopen to dine-in guests more than three weeks ago, as part of Phase Two in B.C.’s Restart Plan. Last Thursday (June 11), Henry removed the 50 per cent capacity restriction, allowing restaurant and pub operators to determine their capacity so long as guests are able to physically distance by at least two metres.

On Friday night (June 12) at the White Hart, the band Spank The Plank played a mix of classic rock songs for a few dozen people who paid $10 admission online, through Eric McCauley’s Good Time Bookings page on eventbrite.ca.

“It’s a family-run business, and we want to make sure everyone is safe and follow the proper restrictions put in place by Worksafe,” said McCauley, who books bands at the White Hart.

“We’re sold out tonight, pretty much, and we’re keeping it to around 42 people,” Hart added. “We’re doing advance ticket sales, and one of the shows sold out in an hour, the Tragically Hip tribute, Roadside Attraction (on June 27). Other bands have sold out in a couple of days, and some are selling out at the door. People can line up, six feet apart obviously, and if we have room then they can come in.”

• RELATED STORY: B.C.’s new COVID-19 cases remain low, no deaths since Friday.

Other bands on the calendar this month include Robert Graves Band (June 19), March Hare (June 20), The Rattlers (June 24) and Rob Montgomery/Nadine States (June 30), plus karaoke Tuesdays.

Hart and his family took over operations of the former Hook and Ladder pub site last year.

“We changed the name to White Hart after our soccer team’s stadium, which is White Hart Lane,” said Hart. “It’s an ode to Tottenham (the soccer club in London). My family is from there, I have the tatttoo, we’re diehard fans. In September of 2019 we came up here from Bear Creek (Pub), just a better location, bigger. We renovated it, painted it with Tottenham colours, everything, got the sign up and yeah, we’re ready.”

Spank the Plank drummer Wes Lawrie said it’s fun for the band to again perform “for people who appreciate it.”

Prior to Friday night at the White Hart, his last gig was set for March 16 at a venue in Whistler.

“We were just ready to leave my place, everything loaded, and we got the call to not bother, it was closed, everything was shut down,” Lawrie recalled.

“As a musician this has been very tough, and just very different,” he added. “But it looks like we’re getting going again, and we’re hearing about other gigs happening at some places, so I’m sure we’ll be playing again soon. This is definitely something I haven’t experienced before.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

CoronavirusLive music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
Surrey Eagles in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for BCHL season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Diamond School in Surrey reporting COVID-19 exposure

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
8 scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Most Read