The 49th annual Juno Awards—Canadian music's most illustrious night aka the Grammys of the North—have been cancelled due to concerns over the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
The event was scheduled to take place at the SaskTel Centre stage in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on March 15.
Organizers made the announcement Thursday morning from Saskatoon.
"We are devastated to cancel this national celebration of music, but 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," a joint statement from the Juno Awards and Canadian Academy of Recording Arts (CARAS) said. "We know this is the right decision based on the information we currently have and are continuing to receive. The situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly and we urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.
"We salute and appreciate all the 2020 nominees. CARAS will continue to explore options to coordinate an alternative way to honour this year’s JUNO Award winners and Special Award Recipients and support the creators and participants that so greatly benefit from the work done by CARAS and the JUNOS."
On late Wednesday night, a family physician based in Saskatoon called on Juno Awards organizers to cancel the show in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alessia Cara was set to host the ceremony for the first time, while Tory Lanez and Daniel Caesar were among the artists slated to perform. Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, Jessie Reyez, and Amaal were also up for awards.
The cancellation comes shortly after Canada’s first death from the disease in BC.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially labelled COVID-19 a pandemic. As of Thursday morning, there were over 120 presumptive and confirmed cases reported in Canada.