There will likely be less hand-shaking and congratulatory or long-time-no-see hugs and kisses at Juno Week in Saskatoon this week when the Canadian music industry gathers for numerous events and parties, culminating in the awards dinner and broadcast next weekend (March 14-15), but there will be no cancellations or audience-less productions due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and threat, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has confirmed.
In a prepared statement, CARAS president/CEO Allan Reid said: “The health, safety and well-being of everyone is of paramount importance to the CARAS organization. As it relates to COVID-19, we have been closely monitoring the position of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and other experts within our federal, provincial and municipal governing bodies. Based on the numerous consultations of relevant authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the risks associated with COVID-19 remain low for Canada and Canadian travellers. As such, we are proceeding as planned with The 49th annual Juno Awards Broadcast and Juno Week activities, scheduled to take place in Saskatoon, from March 9-15, 2020. We will continue to monitor developments and will act accordingly and advise if the situation changes.”
As of March 7, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has confirmed 57 cases of COVID-19, 28 of which are in Ontario, 27 in British Columbia, and two in Quebec. “At this time Saskatchewan does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, and the risk to Canadians remains low,” it reads on the Saskatchewan government’s web site, listing 52 people have been tested, 45 received negative results with 7 pending (as of March 2).
Juno Week includes the kick-off covers/collab concert with about 20 nominees and headlining set by the Sheepdogs at the Coors Event Centre (March 12); the Juno Cup hockey game between members of the music industry and former NHLers at Merlis Belsher Place (March 13); Junofest shows at about 10 venues featuring 50 acts (March 13-14); and Juno Fanfare autograph/selfie meet-and-greet with eight nominated artists at Midtown (March 14). The private gala awards dinner is March 14 and awards broadcast on the 15th, live from SaskTel Centre.
Despite no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, on Saturday organizers of a March 20 Iranian New Year’s celebration at Prairieland Park moved the event to the summer. Iran has announced 4747 cases of coronavirus and 124 deaths.
In other parts of Canada, cancellations of major events include the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Women’s World Hockey Championship games slated for Truro, Nova Scotia, March 31-April 10; the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon March 15-20; the Shopify Unite Conference May 6-9 in Toronto; and the Collision tech conference World June 22-25 in Toronto now replaced by Collision From Home.
Meanwhile Saskatoon’s VIDO-InterVac, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centre, is one of many labs worldwide trying to develop a vaccine.
== As of March 9, 72 cases have been confirmed in Canada.