The Block contestants sent home
The coronavirus crisis has forced contestants on The Block's upcoming season to down their tools and head home.
Executive producer Julian Cress told the Herald Sun the team behind the reality reno show had decided to "stop filming with the contestants and stop the competition temporarily so we could get out ahead of (any) looming shutdown of state borders and a potential full lockdown of the state".
"(We wanted) to get the contestants home to their families, as they live all around the country and are away from their children," he said.
"The potential for them to be locked down in Melbourne was too much of a risk."
But the Brighton construction site where the show's 16th season is being filmed hasn't been shut down, with local tradies to continue working to create extensions at the rears of five houses that have been transported there.
"We're still operating the building site for as long as we possibly can (to keep) our tradies employed so they can continue to feed their families," he said.
"Our aim is to get everything up and running as soon as we can to deliver the show when we intended."
It's understood no one working on the show has been tested for coronavirus to date.
Mr Cress said more than a third of the season had already been shot, providing "plenty of material" for editing during the hiatus.
He added the editing team, headed by David Barbour, was capable of "working a miracle" by turning around episodes in short time periods after filming.
"Every year, we shoot the auctions on a Saturday and air them on a Sunday," he said
The Block typically airs in the second half of the year.
A Channel 9 statement released on Thursday said: "The Block looks forward to returning contestants back to Melbourne and resuming production when practical to do so.
"Separately from contestants, The Block employs many tradespeople and freelancers, who rely on income earned from (the show) for a living."
Cairns couple Tess and Luke won last year's season of The Block, which transformed St Kilda's rundown Oslo Hotel, pocketing $730,000 in prize money.
Originally published as The Block contestants sent home