On-Grounds Operations

The Daily will operate as an online-only publication this summer, its 145th of serving as the historical record of Chautauqua Institution programming and activities. View the Daily at https://chqdaily.com 

The Institution is also printing a weekly ad/schedule supplement called CHQ Assembly Weekly, and that's automatically going to be delivered to every PO box, and some bulk drop-offs and a few locations off the grounds.

Children’s Beach will be staffed by certified lifeguards during the 2020 season, from 12 to 6 p.m. daily, weather and water quality permitting. Restrictions around social distancing and gathering size will be in place. All other beaches will not be staffed and are considered closed for swimming. 

Our crews are working to set out benches and picnic tables for public use in their usual spots. To discourage larger gatherings, we ask that you please not move them together or into clusters. 

Chautauqua Institution strives to continuously preserve and represent our legacy of incredibly beautiful natural and built environments on our grounds. This requires substantial attention by many professional gardeners, groundskeepers, and dedicated workers.

The Institution will not provide bus or tram service during the 2020 summer. There will be a limited number of personal mobility scooters available to rent through the Ticket Office. 

Chautauqua’s ALU regulations regarding signage will remain in place during the season. Chautauqua staff members are working on a series of signs to provide clear direction and reminders to all who visit the grounds regarding social distancing, face coverings, and other safety or security procedures. These will be posted in a limited number of spaces and buildings around the grounds, in keeping as best we can with the spirit of our ALU regulations while also abiding by state requirements for reopening.  

• See the chart at our main chq.org/update page to see an regularly updated status listing of Institution facilities, amenities and activities.

We continue to update the chart at chq.org/update regarding Institution-provided services and amenities as a quick reference point. As communicated previously, we hope to be able to offer an increasing amount of activity, as permitted by authorities and our ability to ensure proper staffing and implement all required safety measures. For on-grounds shopping, dining and other services, please see chq.org/plan-your-visit/dining-and-shopping, where you will find each business’s contact information and links to their websites and/or Facebook pages. 

For safety and security purposes, no-cost gate passes will be required for access to the grounds between the 2020 season dates, June 27 to Aug. 30. Digital ticket files will be provided for at-home printing. The Ticket Office staff will begin taking orders for long-term passes by phone on June 15, at 716-357-6250, Option 5, and a self-serve web “store” will be available in the coming weeks. Those who arrive at the grounds without a ticket will be required to contact the Ticket Office, and entry may be delayed. We will be offering time-limited passes and ask that you order the pass that makes sense for your visit, as it will help us better understand how the grounds are being utilized this summer, which will in turn help us better plan our on-grounds experience in coming years.

All who reside on or visit the Chautauqua grounds will be required to follow state and county regulations meant to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, limits on gathering size and face-coverings. 

For emergencies, always dial 911 first. The Chautauqua Police Department can be contacted 24/7 at 716-357-6225. 

Residents and guests should experience no substantial change in these critical areas as compared to a normal summer assembly season, with primary coverage provided by the Chautauqua Police Department (a constabulary designated by the Town of Chautauqua) and the Chautauqua Volunteer Fire Department. Bike Patrol is still to be determined. 

Westfield Memorial Hospital plans to operate the Chautauqua Primary Care Clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning June 30, and will offer video visits at other times throughout the week. For appointments and more information, call 716-357-3209. 

As with nearly all communities, we are primarily relying on residents and guests to act with respect for their neighbors’ health, safety and comfort in abiding by current laws and guidelines regarding social distancing and face-covering in public. If you are not willing to conduct yourself in a way that will put your fellow community members at ease, we ask that you not visit the grounds. The Chautauqua Police can be contacted at 716-357-6225 in the case of a public nuisance or safety hazard.

County and state guidance on quarantining measures will likely change throughout the summer. All visitors to Chautauqua Institution are expected to be familiar with and abide by any state or county recommendations or orders regarding quarantining that are in place at the time of your visit.

The Institution will install, open and monitor its public docks this summer. Regular fees apply. Slips are assigned through the Central Dock Office at docks@chq.org or 716-357-6245. Gas will be sold at Central Dock. However, there will be no parking at the docks and no access to the grounds from the docks, except for slip lessees. 

The Athenaeum Hotel has not yet determined its plans for the summer season. Hotels are considered among New York State’s essential services, and we do hope to be able to serve overnight guests, but are now in the process of determining the operational plan to do so safely. At this time we have not determined the extent to which we will be able to offer food and drink service or to permit guests and residents to access the hotel porch.

We do not know at this time and are following regulations put forth by New York State. The fitness center likely falls under the recreational amenities that would be permitted to reopen in the fourth phase of New York Forward, the staged plan to reopen the state. With at least two weeks between implementation of each phase, it is likely the fitness center will be closed until at least mid-July.

As allowed by the state and following safety and health orders, on-grounds businesses are permitted to operate at the discretion of owners/operators.

While recreational venues such as playgrounds and tennis courts may open at some point this summer, all formal programming for youth will take place online this summer. We will not open the YAC, Club or Children’s School.

The Chautauqua grounds are being staffed by the minimum essential personnel. Institution facilities, assets and public areas are not occupied or being monitored at the normal level of operations. We have closed all but the Main Gate in an effort to responsibly provide more security to protect Institution property, and that of our community members, during these current circumstances.


For our summer season, at this time, we are planning to staff only the Main Gate, with the auto entrance staffed 24/7. The Main Gate pedestrian entrance and exit lanes will also be staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily during the season dates. The Market Gate is operated remotely by the Chautauqua Police Department and available only for delivery vehicles.

We have heard concerns that this approach will cause backups in the center of the grounds, which we will monitor, and we appreciate that it is inconvenient for those who live on either end of the grounds. We hope you will understand that we need to be able to track population density and the number of hangtags being given out, etc. Centralizing entrance and exit is the best way to do that.  

After careful thought and polling of contractors to determine the status of currently approved projects with active Compliance Certificates, the Institution has determined that most current projects will be in good position to pause construction by noon on June 26, 2020, until the end of our normal summer season, resuming construction on Aug. 31, 2020, as required by our Architectural and Land Use (ALU) Regulations.

There will be no change in parking regulations during the 2020 summer as compared to past seasons. On-grounds parking — including private property, white-stake, South Lot and North Lot spots — will be by permit only. No-charge parking permits should be secured along with your long-term ticket order.  

Those without on-grounds parking permits should park in the Main Lot and enter the grounds as pedestrians. There will be no charge to park in the Main Lot, and the lot will not be staffed. 

45-minute hangtags will be available at the Main Gate auto entrance — these are meant for deliveries and pickups and to assist those who would have difficulty traversing the grounds from the Main Lot. Hangtag time limits will be strictly enforced. 

The usual summertime street closures will continue as normal.

For those who are able, we ask that you consider donating the normal cost of a parking pass to help sustain Chautauqua through this crisis and will provide the opportunity to do so as you place your orders. 

The removal program for ash trees will be more limited in scope than what we communicated in January, and will proceed on a case-by-case basis. Owners of property adjacent to an Institution-owned tree slated for removal will be provided advance notice.

Winter canvas coverings are required to be removed, per our ALU Regulations. If special circumstances may delay or prevent removal, property owners can apply for a variance through the Campus Planning and Operations Office. Jamestown Awning is aware of the deadline and is trying to get these done by season’s start, but the Institution will not begin enforcing this regulation until July. 

One of the many ways the generosity of Chautauquans has emerged in this time is through offers to teach a free class or offer a service on the grounds for those who are here. Unfortunately, most facilities on the grounds will be closed for the summer and we will not be able to offer space to community members for programming or gathering in them. This is because we do not have the staff and materials available to keep those venues safely cleaned and monitored if they are in use this summer.


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