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Trivia night at Port Moody pub considered COVID-19 super-spreader

Last Updated Feb 18, 2021 at 9:26 pm PST

The St. James's Well pub in Port Moody on Thursday Feb. 18, 2021. (Image Credit: CityNews)

Super-spreader event on Feb. 2 at St. James's Well prompts action from WorkSafeBC

Industry group says Port Moody pub did nothing wrong, says people should have been following rules

B.C. Alliance of Beverage Licensees notifying members games nights are not allowed

PORT MOODY (NEWS 1130) – Now that two dozen COVID-19 cases have been linked to one trivia night at a Port Moody pub, an industry group says this won’t happen again.

That super-spreader event on Feb. 2 at St. James’s Well has prompted action from WorkSafeBC. Al Johnson, head of prevention services, confirms that pub in Newport village was inspected after Fraser Health issued a public exposure alert.

“We’re working in association with public health,” he said. “Bylaw inspectors may be involved … certainly, Liquor Control Board inspectors may be involved as well.”

He says certain public safety orders were not being followed.

“This particular pub in Port Moody shows us exactly what could happen when things go wrong,” Johnson said.

Jeff Guignard with the B.C. Alliance of Beverage Licensees says it wasn’t clear until this week that game nights at pubs are not okay.

“I really think this establishment did nothing wrong. Nothing that hasn’t been done in many other places of the province, and we just got some bad luck because the virus doesn’t distinguish between whether it’s trivia night or your regular [night],” he said.

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Guignard adds this pub wasn’t the only member of his organization that didn’t know game nights fall under current public safety restrictions,.

“We didn’t think of this as an event across industry. So, a number of other places — aside from this public Port Moody — have also been hosting trivia, thinking they were onside,” he said.

He says some customers were going against the rules and moving between tables and it highlights the importance of the “bargain” you’re making when going to a pub or restaurant, “which is you will follow the rules, stick to your group size, don’t mingle between tables, don’t stand up unless you’re going to the washroom or pay or something like that.”

WorkSafeBC’s inspection report from Feb. 4, 2021:


Guignard insists none of this would have happened if customers at the pub on Feb. 2 had been following the rules.

“Our job is to make sure that there’s no more than six people there. Your job, as a customer, is to make sure you come in with your safe group of people you’re hanging out with in your immediate household — the people you’re already are in contact with. So, there’s no potential that you’re going to spread it around people at the table, if they’re your safe group of people in your household,” Guignard said.

“The problem becomes when patrons don’t follow the rules and decide I’m going to get up from this table and go talk to somebody at the next table that I know. Or on the way back from the washroom, I’m going to stop and shake someone’s hand. Even though we’re going to remind you, ‘Sit your butt down and don’t do that,’ the damage is potentially already done,” he added.

Guinard notes his organization has notified all members, including St James’s Well, to cancel any games nights.

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The owners of the pub have not yet responded to numerous requests for comment from NEWS 1130.