Juno Awards Canceled Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Fears

Alessia Cara attends the 2019 Canada's Walk Of Fame - Getty -H 2020
George Pimentel/Getty Images

Alessia Cara was set to host Canadian music's biggest night in Saskatoon.

The 2020 Juno Awards have been cancelled amid growing fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which organizes Canada's biggest night in music, in a statement Thursday said the March 15 gala telecast on the CBC will not go ahead.

"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," organizers said in a statement.

Alessia Cara was set to host the event on Sunday night at the SaskTel Centre arena in Saskatoon. Besides the main gala awards show, the Juno celebrations in the city was to include 60 performers appearing at 11 different venues as part of JunoFest over the coming weekend.

The decision to scrap the Junos had been expected and followed consultation with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, the city of Saskatoon and Tourism Saskatoon.

No deaths from the virus outbreak have taken place in Saskatchewan, but the province's ministry of health on Thursday confirmed its first presumed local case of COVID-19. The cancellation also follows word that artists set to present awards or perform at the Junos on the weekend had been told by management and other representatives to not fly to Saskatoon to attend the event as a precaution against the virus outbreak.

The Academy added it will consider alternative ways to honor the 2020 Juno nominees and winners: "CARAS will continue to explore options to coordinate an alternative way to honor 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."

Alessia Cara on Tuesday emerged with a field-leading six nominations for the 2020 Juno music awards, Canada's version of the Grammys.

Cara, who earned a best new artist Grammy in 2018, led the list of nominees for the 2020 Junos, which also included multiple nominees like rapper Tory Lanez, Shawn Mendes, Bryan Adams and Loud Luxury.

Other Juno nominees were included Ali Gatie, Avril Lavigne, bbno$, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and Lanez.

The outbreak has sparked deep falls in global financial markets and disrupted the entertainment industry. That includes other entertainment events also being scrapped or delayed like SXSW in the U.S., MIPTV in Cannes, France, Disney's London launch event for Disney+ in Europe and Hong Kong's Filmart content market.