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Juno Awards 2020 cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

Saskatoon businesses gearing up for Juno Awards, expected to bring up to $9M to local economy
ABOVE: Local businesses in Saskatoon are gearing up for the Junos ahead of Sunday's awards.

The 2020 Juno Awards have been cancelled as the novel coronavirus continues to spread across Canada.

The biggest night for Canadian music was scheduled to hit the SaskTel Centre stage in Saskatoon, Sask. on March 15.

“Through our collaborative discussions and with input and guidance and the full support of our trusted partners, including the Province of Saskatchewan, the City of Saskatoon, Tourism Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Health Authority and Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, it is with an incredibly heavy heart that we collectively confirm the cancellation of the 49th Annual Juno Awards and Juno Week activities in Saskatoon due to concerns surrounding COVID-19,” said a spokesperson in a statement on Thursday.

READ MORE: 2020 Juno Awards nominees announced, singer Alessia Cara to host ceremony

“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.”

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Along with first-time host Alessia Cara, a number of beloved Canadian musicians were slated to perform, including nominees Daniel CaeserLennon StellaThe Glorious Sons and Tory Lanez.

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Cara released a statement on Thursday following the announcement, adding “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

“I landed in Saskatoon last night for the Junos and immediately got the news that we couldn’t move forward with the show due to the health concerns surrounding the coronavirus,” she said.

“I’m so sad … but it wouldn’t be safe or smart to put thousands of people in an arena right now. Everyone’s health and safety comes first.”

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The cancellation comes in the wake of Canada’s first death from the disease in B.C., and other event cancellations in the country and around the globe.

There have been no cases of COVID-19 reported in Saskatchewan. However, inmates at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre being quarantined Wednesday after an offender said he had previously come into contact with someone with the disease.

Saskatchewan officials say province is preparing for potential coronavirus outbreak
Saskatchewan officials say province is preparing for potential coronavirus outbreak

Despite this, more precautions need to be taken in the province, Dr. Suresh Tikoo, a professor and director at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Public Health, previously told Global News.

“Any type of gathering, whether it is NHL, NBA, major league baseball, [the] Junos or any concert, have to be cancelled because that is the best source of spreading the virus,” he said.

“Containment of this is very important. Otherwise, it will spread to everybody.”

The event was expected to bring an estimated $9 million boost to the local economy.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan officials say province is preparing for potential coronavirus outbreak

This is the second time Saskatoon was scheduled to host the event. The first time was in 2007 with host Nelly Furtado.

“We are deeply proud to have won the competitive bid for the Juno Awards in 2020,” Scott Ford, chair of the 2020 Juno host committee, said in a 2019 press release.

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“The opportunity to once again showcase our talent, enthusiastic and supportive community and the outstanding facilities of a city experiencing incredible growth, is a privilege.”

— With files from Global News’ Adam Wallis, Jonathan Guignard and Nathaniel Dove

Meghan.Collie@globalnews.ca