Twelfth of July parades have been cancelled across Northern Ireland due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has been confirmed.
Senior Orangeman Reverend Mervyn Gibson said the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland made the decision to cancel events instead of postponing in order to "rebuild society and communities" and ensure there was a focus on commemorating those who died during the virus outbreak.
He said the organisation was considering ways to celebrate the Twelfth online this year.
Rev Gibson also warned against crowds gathering for bonfire celebrations on the Eleventh Night, which are not organised by the Orange Lodge, regardless of the decision to cancel parades around the country.
"We do not want to see crowds out around bonfires, no doubt about that," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme.
"I suspect many people will have a small bonfire in their own back garden and that's the way it'll be for many of us."
Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Edward Stevenson confirmed the decision on Monday, following consultation with the Grand Masters of England and Scotland, local County Masters and senior officers.
Grand Masters in England have cancelled their celebrations while events in Scotland have been postponed, Rev Gibson said.
First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster described it as a "responsible step".
"By taking such steps now and if everyone adheres to the advice then we can reduce the pressures on our NHS, save lives and ultimately ensure we emerge as strongly as possible from this pandemic.
"There will be a great deal to celebrate when we do finally have the opportunity to meet again."
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said it was "the right decision", saying it was great to see organisers of large events following government guidance.
"This more we all abide by the guidance issued, the more we will have an impact on driving this virus back.
"Protecting human life has to be our number one priority," he said.
This year's parades were to centre around 17 venues in Northern Ireland with one in the Republic of Ireland at Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal.
Rev Gibson added: "People are talking about this being in place for maybe six months so there's no point in bringing hundreds of thousands of people onto our streets just to add difficulty."
The former RUC Special Branch member said the Orange Lodge wanted police and emergency services to be able to focus on battling the coronavirus.
He acknowledged that people would be disappointed but said the organisation was exploring other avenues to celebrate the Twelfth online.
"We feel at this point of time our members energy and resources need to be focused in fighting against coronavirus," he said.
"It's not the first time we've done this, it happened during the First World War, it happened during the Spanish Flu epidemic. We're not the only ones who have planned, the police have planned for these occasions, other services have to be planned.
"We're telling them please don't plan for the Twelfth this year, devote your resources along the lines of battling coronavirus," he said.
Speaking directly to young people who organise bonfires in their communities each year, he advised them to use their energy in other ways.
"We would say to them, if you're young and fit and able, volunteer for those groups that are hoping the less fortunate. Those who have to self-isolate, those who can't get out. Deliver shopping, pick up prescriptions, whatever is needed.
"There will be plenty of time after this to celebrate our traditional anniversaries, indeed those who fought at the Boyne gave up their day and fought a particular cause, we're asking people to fight a cause today and that's coronavirus.
"After that, we will celebrate how it was beaten and commemorate those who sadly will not get through this time," he said.