Editor’s Note: This article was updated to reflect new information about Grey’s Anatomy ending Season 16 early.

Grey’s Anatomy has a habit of keeping fans on the edge of their seats week after week with its juicy storylines. However, the recent coronavirus pandemic will keep those cliffhangers from being wrapped up anytime soon. The show halted production earlier in March as a precautionary measure to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, and since then, it’s been announced Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 will end early.

The Grey’s Anatomy production shutdown was announced in a note to the cast and crew on March 12, following Los Angeles’ mayor Eric Garcetti’s order to limit public gathering to less than 50 people. The letter was authored by the show’s executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff and her fellow executive producers Debbie Allen and James Williams, and read in part:

The show had just finished filming Episode 21 of Season 16 when the shutdown was announced, and that episode is scheduled to air on April 9. The season was set to air 25 episodes in total, meaning four episodes that were supposed to be in the season were not filmed.

As the letter explains, the shutdown was initially planned for two weeks, but as the coronavirus situation continues to worsen in the United States, that plan has changed. On March 27, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff posted on Twitter about ending Season 16 early, assuring fans Episode 21 will feel somewhat like a finale, and promising to wrap up the season’s cliffhangers in Season 17.

A shortened season is likely disappointing to fans who are hoping to get some storylines wrapped up before the summer, but in light of the state of the world right now, it would be hard not to understand the reason for it.

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