Health and safety always come first.
Amid growing concern over the spread of Coronavirus, the TODAY show has decided to tape without a live audience, NBC News shared on Wednesday. "The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority," the statement read. "As a precautionary measure, starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, we have decided to suspend live audiences for TODAY and TODAY with Hoda & Jenna & Friends."
"Per guidance from New York City officials, the company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities," the message continued. "Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates."
The morning talk show—featuring co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager, Craig Melvin and Carson Daly—is not the first to take extra precaution. With more than 1,000 cases of the contagious disease in the U.S., shows including Good Morning America, Live With Kelly and Ryan, The View, Jeopardy! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon among others have also temporarily removed audiences from their sets.
Indeed, Coronavirus has impacted the entire entertainment sphere. Daniel Craig's James Bond film No Time to Die pushed back its April release to November, Gucci canceled its Cruise 2021 fashion show and Survivor has delayed production on its upcoming 41st and 42nd seasons.
"Though Fiji has no reported cases and is beautifully remote, our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan," host Jeff Probst wrote in a open letter to the crew. "This situation is unprecedented and we are learning more information every day. It is out of concern for the well-being of all of you that we have taken this step."
To help prevent the spread of Coronavirus—and work to remain healthy—experts recommend you avoid touching your face, disinfect surfaces and wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Need help keeping track of time at the sink? There are plenty of memes offering songs to sing while scrubbing.
(E! and TODAY are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)