One of Western New York's most revered traditions – summer programs at the Chautauqua Institution – has fallen victim to the Covid-19 virus.
Chautauqua president Michael E. Hill announced Saturday the institution's board of directors on Friday voted to suspend any in-person programs this summer.
"I share in the collective heartbreak and grief this decision is sure to evoke," Hill said. "I assure you ... that this is the right decision, to ensure the safety of our community, our region and our future."
The educational center founded in 1874 on the shores of Chautauqua Lake normally presents a host of entertainment and enrichment programs each summer.
Instead, Hill announced a new online series of programs aimed at a "tightly knit community of lifelong learners and lovers of the arts, education, interfaith and recreational programming." A schedule will be published soon, Hill said.
The institution will offer refunds for services, gate passes, Athenaeum Hotel reservations, and single event tickets. Hill said patrons will be contacted via email about the refund process, which will include the option of donating all or a portion of the purchase value back to Chautauqua.