Juno Week in Saskatoon begins today, culminating with the awards ceremonies Saturday (the gala dinner) and Sunday (the TV broadcast). While everything will go ahead as planned, you can bet that the city will go through a record amount of Purel–if you can find any.
CARAS, the organization that stages the Junos, did some real soul-searching about what to do with events in the era of coronavirus. In the end, there will be no cancellations or events without any audiences.
Here’s the statement from CARAS president and CEO Allan Reid:
“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.”
This includes Junofest (the fan festival featuring about 50 acts spread out nearly a dozen venues), the Juno Cup hockey game, Junofare (a big autograph/selfie opportunity) and a big kickoff concert with the Sheepdogs and friends.
As I type this, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. Of the of the fifty-two people who have been tested, 45 were negative and another seven tests are pending. The hope is we’ll be able to say the same thing a week from now.
If you’re going to the Junos, no hugs or hand-shakes, okay?