Grand Ole Opry Pauses Live Audience Performances Amid Coronavirus Fears, Will Continue Radio Show

The Grand Ole Opry announced all live shows with audiences be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials announced late Friday. However, the Grand Ole Opry radio show itself will continue airing, just without a live studio audience. Guests with tickets for performances through April 4 have been urged to contact customer service for ticketing information.

"The Grand Ole Opry stands by the motto of the Circle can’t be broken," the Grand Ole Opry posted on Instagram. "Throughout the Opry’s history, various events have led Opry management to make difficult decisions about how to alter the show’s format. In an effort to maintain health and safety amid current COVID-19 concerns, the Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest-running radio show, will pause performances that include a live audience through April 4. The Opry’s first priority has always been the safety of our employees, guests and artists who have been key in keeping the show that made country music famous on the air every week for over 94 years."

"During this time, the Saturday Night Grand Ole Opry Show will return to its original format as a live radio broadcast without a live audience," the statement continued. "Fans around the world can still tune in to the Saturday night broadcasts at opry.com and wsmonline.com, Opry and WSM mobile apps, and its flagship home, 650 AM WSM."

Although the news was heartbreaking for fans, many agreed with the decision.

"I think that could go for this whole planet. We will not be broken," one fan wrote. "We may get knocked down but we get back up."

"[Love] This! Keeping it simple - and back to your roots," another wrote.

The Opry's decision came after the County Music Hall of Fame announced it would be closing down for the rest of the month, starting Friday.

"The health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, the museum, Hatch Show Print, RCA Studio B and the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will close temporarily to the public starting at close of business March 13, 2020 through March 31, 2020," the Hall said in a statement.

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According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there are 26 cases of COVID-19 in the state, spread across eight counties, reports The Tennessean. Davidson County, which includes Nashville, has 10 cases as of 2 p.m. CT on Friday. Schools in Nashville were closed on Thursday and Friday, although no students, faculty or staff tested positive.

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