Juno Awards cancelled in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
Published Thursday, March 12, 2020 8:21AM CST Last Updated Thursday, March 12, 2020 6:34PM CST
SASKATOON -- Amid concerns about the possible spread of COVID-19, the Juno Awards will not go ahead in Saskatoon.
"We are devastated to cancel this national celebration of music," a joint statement sent by the City of Saskatoon said.
"At this time of global uncertainty, the health, safety and well-being of all Canadians must stand at the forefront of any decisions that impact our communities."
The decision came after discussions between the City of Saskatoon, the province, health officials and the annual event's organizers, the statement said.
Shortly after the announcement the province confirmed Saskatchewan's first presumptive case of the illness, a 60-year-old man living in Saskatoon.
"I am so sad, as is everyone putting together the show, but it wouldn't be safe or smart to put thousands of people in an arena right now," singer Alessia Cara said on Twitter.
Cara was set to host this year's edition of the awards show.
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), the organization behind the Junos, said it will explore other avenues to honour this year's award.
The awards show was scheduled to take place Sunday at SaskTel Centre. It would have been the first time the city would have hosted the event since 2007.
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A family physician based in the city was among those who called on organizers to cancel the show in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As a front line family physician in Saskatoon, I have to beg you to cancel," Carla Holinaty said on Twitter late Wednesday night.
"The people coming for Junos will undoubtedly bring it to us. Don’t cripple our healthcare system for an awards show," Holinaty said.
On Monday during a news conference, city officials along with Saskatchewan Health Authority medical health officer Dr. Johnmark Opondo initially said the show and related events would go ahead as planned.
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"All the indicators and advice is that we can safely have this event," Opondo told reporters at the time.
This is a developing story. More details to come.