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Calgary woman demanding refund for cancelled room in B.C. because of travel restrictions

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A Calgary woman is disappointed after being told she won’t be getting a full refund on the short term rental she had booked in B.C. but cancelled because of the new travel restrictions.

Travel restrictions for non-essential travel in B.C. went into effect last Friday to stop the spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern.

Read more: Holidaymakers juggle disappointment, understanding as B.C. travel restrictions kick in

Karlie-Rae Zirk was excited about a two night get away to Golden, B.C. that she booked for this weekend.

But when she heard about the B.C. travel restrictions announced last week she decided to cancel her AirBnB reservation.

“Because of the general risk involved and just the general respect. That’s B.C. rules and we decided to do the right thing and cancel,” Zirk said.

Zirk said AirBnB provided a 50 per cent refund because of their reservation policy but she said the host refused the full refund — instead suggesting to book another time.

“I just think it’s a time where we should come together and help each other out. It’s just us doing the right thing and that was the host’s thank you in return and it was very upsetting,” Zirk said.

Read more: B.C.’s travel ban road checks could start as early as Friday

At a news conference on Friday, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province is beginning to see the impacts of the travel restrictions.

“Travel on BC Ferries was down this past weekend and resorts and hotels are reporting that many people have taken the initiative to cancel or rebook their holiday plans until the restrictions are lifted,” Farnworth said.

He had a warning for short-term rental operators not giving refunds.

“I think that individual needs to take a really hard look at themselves in the mirror and go, some short-term greed, at the expense of  the reputation of your business, because I guarantee you that people will put that in their reviews.  And to say, am I part of the problem, or should I really be part of the solution?” Farnworth said.

Short-term rentals don’t fall under the same rules that hotels do, but B.C. hotels are also dealing with cancelled plans.

Click to play video: “We’ve been getting a lot of cancellations”, how B.C.’s travel ban is leading to a lot of incentives for locals to plan ‘staycations’

According to the B.C. Hotel Association work is being done by operators to educate guests on restrictions and where possible, reschedule reservations.

In a statement to Global News the president of the association said if the guest is unable to travel because of a restriction, then they are entitled to a refund.

“Many hotels are working with guests to re-schedule and that has been well received from consumers,” Ingrid Jarrett said.

“We are encouraging our members to be flexible and provide refunds to out-of-town province travellers cancelling their visit to British Columbia due to new travel restrictions,” Jarrett said.

“We greatly appreciate the responsibility demonstrated by out-of-province visitors who recognize that now is not the time to travel to B.C. unless for essential purposes. We hope to be able to welcome all travellers very soon,” Jarrett said.

Click to play video: B.C. outlines enforcement measures on COVID-19 travel  ban