The Juno Awards Have Not Been Cancelled Despite the Coronavirus Pandemic

Health authorities say organizers have a response strategy, as Saskatchewan warns against mass gatherings
The Juno Awards Have Not Been Cancelled Despite the Coronavirus Pandemic
Today the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak an official pandemic, but despite the growing fears over COVID-19, there are so far no plans to cancel this weekend's 2020 Juno Awards.

As of press time, Canada's biggest night in music is still a go in Saskatoon on Sunday (March 15), even though the cases of COVID-19 in the country have been steadily on the rise and events worldwide have been postponed and cancelled in recent days. This includes major U.S. events such as Coachella, E3, SXSW and Ultra Music Festival.

UPDATE (3/12, 12 p.m. EDT): The 2020 Juno Awards have now been officially cancelled. Organizers made the announcement on Thursday morning, and you can learn more here. The Junos also shared the following statement: And while there has so far been one death in Canada from COVID-19 in B.C., no cases have been reported in Saskatchewan. As of Monday (March 9), between 50 and 70 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, but all cases have turned out negative for the virus.

As such, health authorities have declared the risk of COVID-19 low for the province, even though the provincial website has now stated that "no one should attend a mass gathering," as well as encouraging "model social distancing (i.e. handshakes, hugs, kisses)" and "proper hand/cough hygiene."

With the Junos coming in just a few days, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has tried to calm any fears about COVID-19 in the lead-up to the Junos, while also warning that the situation is very fluid and could change at any time.

"If we have an individual that didn't travel outside of Saskatchewan and did test positive for coronavirus, that would be a shift," Dr. Johnmark Opondo, a medical health officer in Saskatoon, told Global News earlier this week.

Opondo added that seeing a case of COVID-19 before Sunday's Juno Awards was unlikely, but he has stated that there are backup plans in place at the Junos if a case does arise.

"If you develop symptoms of a runny nose or cold, identify yourself to the Juno organizers," he said. "They've prepared a strategy to respond, and they will connect with us and we will safely manage that particular situation."

Other than that, though, the Junos' strategy remains vague, and as of press time, organizers have issue no official statement about the coronavirus.

For updates on COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, you can visit the government's provincial website. You can also get more information about the coronavirus in Canada here.

You can see the full list of 2020 Juno Awards nominees over here. Among the nominated artists for the 49th annual awards are Leonard CohenJessie Reyez, NAV, Patrick Watson, PUP, City and ColourOrville Peck, bülowAlexandra Stréliski, Shawn Mendes, nêhiyawak and many more. Performers include Jann Arden, Lennon StellaDaniel Caesar, the Glorious Sons and Tory Lanez.

Alessia Cara, who is also nominated for multiple awards, is hosting the event, which takes place on Sunday at SaskTel Centre. It starts at 8 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on CBC.