The Grand Ole Opry is making some major changes to its schedule due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A Friday afternoon (March 13) media statement from the legendary country music show's team announces the cancellation of most March Opry shows and, for those that do move forward, the suspension of live audiences.

For the health and safety of Opry employees, guests and performers, all performances except for Saturday night shows are being canceled through April 4. Saturday night Grand Ole Opry shows will still take place, but without a live audience.

Fans will be able to listen to the Opry's Saturday night performances, however, via radio: at Opry.com or WSMOnline.com, on the Grand Ole Opry and WSM mobile apps, via SiriusXM satellite radio and on 650 WSM-AM in the Nashville area. This radio-only plan for Saturday night Opry performances brings the long-running show back to its roots as a live radio broadcast without a live audience.

"The Grand Ole Opry stands by the motto of 'The circle can’t be broken,'" the statement reads. "Throughout the Opry’s history, various events have led Opry management to make difficult decisions about how to alter the show’s format."

Indeed, the Grand Ole Opry has weathered other storms -- sometimes, literally. In May of 2010, when a devastating flood hit Nashville, including the Grand Ole Opry House, employees worked tirelessly to move performances until the venue was restored and re-opened late that September.

Per the Opry's statement, the Grand Ole Opry's live Saturday night show has been canceled only once, on April 6, 1968, during a curfew imposed in the city of Nashville after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tenn. That night's show was pre-taped that afternoon.

Fans with tickets to an affected Grand Ole Opry show can contact the Opry for more information. Visit Opry.com or call 1-(800)-SEE-OPRY.

There are more than 128,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the globe, including more than 4,700 deaths, as of Thursday evening (March 12). The number of cases within the United States has been increasing, with 1,663 cases and 40 deaths confirmed.

Following President Donald Trump's Wednesday (March 11) address to the nation, which included a decision to ban foreign nationals traveling to the United States from Europe beginning Friday, hundreds of tour dates were canceled or rescheduled by country artists in an effort to help control the spread of the disease. Live Nation and AEG are among the organizations that announced they would be recommending all large-scale events through the month of March be postponed.

Chris Stapleton, Blake SheltonKenny Chesney, Dan + Shay, Reba McEntire and Jason Aldean are just a few of the artists who have moved tour dates due to the pandemic. California's Stagecoach Festival and the 2020 C2C: Country to Country Festival have also been postponed. Earlier on Friday, Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum announced that it will be closed through the end of March, and Dollywood announced that its opening delay will be delayed until the end of the month.

Coronavirus Pandemic: What Country Music Events Are Postponed or Canceled (or Not)?