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TODAY live audiences suspended

NBC News has taken the step to suspend live audiences for TODAY and TODAY with Hoda & Jenna as a precautionary measure.
/ Source: TODAY

Rockefeller Plaza has been closed to TODAY fans and live audiences for TODAY with Hoda & Jenna have been suspended until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic, NBC News has announced.

"The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority," an NBC News 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. Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates."

TODAY is the latest show to take precautions, as classic game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" have already taken the step of taping episodes without live audiences. "The Wendy Williams Show" also announced Tuesday that it won't have a live studio audience "until further notice."

Concern over the coronavirus has led to school and university closings across the country, as well as cancellation of events like the popular South by Southwest festival in Texas, the Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournament, and the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament. In addition, the NCAA announced Wednesday that its upcoming March Madness basketball tournament will restrict attendance to "essential staff and limited family."

The coronavirus has also caused a host of cruise line cancellations and restrictions after multiple cruises reported people who were diagnosed with the virus.

It also has led to a surge in demand for hand sanitizers like Purell as well as other items like cleaning agents, dry goods and canned goods as people follow the recommendations of leading health experts to protect against the spread of the illness.

If you're worried you may have coronavirus, here are the steps you should take. Dr. Mehmet Oz offered tips on TODAY for how people over 60 can protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus amid concerns that age group is the most at risk.