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Chautauqua Institution suspends in-person summer programs

The Chautauqua Institution is suspending its in-person programs this summer because of COVID-19.

Since 1874, the Institution uses its vast grounds along the shores of Chautauqua Lake to provide lectures, workshops and entertainment to thousands who gather there from around the world.

Chautauqua President Michael Hill said they plan to offer the summer's planned programs online.

"Our season is not canceled," Hill said. "We will convene for nine weeks of conversations this summer. We will hold up those topics and themes that we believe are so critical to society, not only before this pandemic but perhaps moreso even after."

Hill said the Institution will provide some services and activities to permanent property owners who live on the grounds in compliance with guidance from federal and state health officials.

Hill acknowledged the hardship this is causing many — from property owners who rent during the summer season to the businesses that benefit from the Institution's presence. He said Chautauqua has a long history of pushing through past hardships.

Hill said Chautauqua will offer full refunds for gate passes and other purchases, though he is asking people to consider deferring all or part of any payments to future seasons or as a donation.

The online schedule of programs will be posted on the Chautauqua website once it's finalized.