Chris Harrison and Clare Crawley are speaking out about ABC’s decision to postpone the upcoming season of The Bachelorette due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“Hello, Bachelor Nation. It is with a heavy heart that I come to you tonight, because right now, at this very minute, I should be standing on a very wet driveway with a very excited woman, ready to change lives,” Harrison shared a video on his Instagram Friday. “But in fact, lives have been changed, because I am here to confirm, which you probably already know, and that is production of The Bachelorette has been postponed for two weeks, at least.”
After two weeks, the show will come together to reassess the situation, Harrison, 48, said, adding that the postponement was “not only the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do.”
“But that doesn’t mean this decision wasn’t hard to make, because this will affect a lot of people. Like it is for everybody around the globe, the ripple effect of this is massive – first and foremost, for my bachelor family, the crew,” the host continued. “There are hundreds, hundreds of people, from audio to camera, producers, AD’s [assistant directors], art department, hair, wardrobe, driver, security, catering, you name it. This is massive. Jobs will be lost, paychecks will be lost, and there’s just no way to avoid that, and that doesn’t avoid the fact that this was still the right thing to do and the only thing to do.”
Harrison – who has hosted the reality franchise since season 1 aired in 2002 – went on to thank the men who signed up for the upcoming season.
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“To the men who had given up time in their lives to go on this adventure, I say thank you,” he said. “Thank you for understanding. Hopefully, everything will work out and we can all be back together again.”
Harrison added, “To my friend Clare, you’re still my Bachelorette and hopefully we’re still going to get the opportunity to help you find love and make his work.”
Harrison and Crawley sat down the night before to discuss her upcoming adventure, he said, as Friday night “was going to be the first official night of production, where the guys would arrive, we’d have our first cocktail party, first rose ceremony.”
“All that stuff seems too trivial now in the face of what we are all about to face, here in the United States, and what you’ve been facing around the world,” Harrison said about the rapidly spreading coronavirus. “But it’s still tough, it’s still emotional, to set it all aside and let all this go.”
Harrison ended his video by urging fans of the franchise to stay “vigilant” amid the outbreak and to make smart choices to help contain the virus.
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“So, I just wanna say, Bachelor Nation, I’m with you. There will be a time again, where we all laugh about trivial things -about finding love, about the drama. This too shall pass. But in the meantime, let’s all be smart, let’s all be vigilant, let’s all be caring and loving in every way possible,” he said.
“First and foremost, that is washing your hands, being smart, social distancing, not going to crowded restaurants and bars, as much as that’s going to hurt everybody in our society,” Harrison concluded. “We have to take those extra steps and knock this thing down. The faster we do that, the faster we are all back to crazy things like rose ceremonies and hot tubs and all the great things that come with it. God bless you all, I’ll be with you every step of the way and I hope to see you soon.”
Crawley also spoke out about her season’s delay and kept a positive attitude, joking that she’s “waited 38 years for these moments, what’s a little bit longer.”
“Well hello! Talk about most dramatic season ever! In all seriousness, Everyone’s health is the most important priority at this time, and as I’m sure you’ve heard, we are pressing pause for now on filming The Bachelorette. 🌹” the 38-year-old shared on Instagram. “We are taking it day by day and even hour by hour as this is so unpredictable. All I know for sure is that my heart is so full from all the love and support this far, and am still so excited for my journey to begin! I’ve waited 38 years for these moments, what’s a little bit longer, right! 😉❤️.”
On Friday, Warner Brothers released a statement, announcing the production delay: “With the rapidly changing events related to COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, Warner Bros. Television Group is halting production on some of our 70+ series and pilots currently filming or about to begin. There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any of our productions, but the health and safety of our employees, casts and crews remains our top priority. During this time, we will continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control as well as local officials and public health professionals in each city where our productions are based.”
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Prior to their decision to cut filming all together, Harrison told PEOPLE that production had installed several hand-washing stations on set, as well as a clinic with a doctor on hand “in case anything springs up.”
He also confirmed that Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelor Summer Games could also be impacted.
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on Wednesday, urging world leaders and citizens to take action to help stop the spread.
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday and announced a series of measures being put in place to combat the outbreak, including a relief package to assist people affected by the virus.
As of Saturday morning, there are 2,195 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 49 deaths, according to a New York Times database.