The TIFF Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto will be closed for a month starting Saturday evening until mid-April.

All events and programming at the theatre and film centre have been cancelled in an effort to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

“This has been a heartbreaking but necessary decision,” the directors of the film festival said in a statement. “The health and safety of our community remains of the utmost importance to us. Medical evidence and guidance from all levels of government tell us that we can slow the progress of the virus by gathering less in groups.

“We want to do everything we can to contribute to safeguarding our collective well-being.”

All cancelled events will be refunded and will be refunding to credit cards automatically.

[Click here to see a list of what's closed and cancelled due to COVID-19]

Executive director Joana Vicente and artistic director Cameron Bailey, the co-heads of the organization, also encouraged people to check in on loved ones and share their favourite films - to watch at home.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2020.