Coronavirus: Canadians out thousands trying to get refunds for weddings, vacations

Thousands of dollars have been invested into weddings, vacations and other events that have completely unravelled this month as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to climb in Canada.

Phone lines to customer service departments of airlines, travel sites and event venues have been jammed or simply unavailable as many try for a refund or date change. Some are finding they are out of luck and may have to take a hit to their finances. 

The rush to cancel comes as multiple provinces have declared a state of emergency and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s considering invoking the Emergencies Act.

Canadians have also been told to avoid all non-essential travel, and only four airports will remain open in the country.

Global News has received dozens of messages from Canadians unable to contact their airline for an upcoming trip or being denied a refund for a venue rental.

Wedding plans for Tania and her fiancé are up in the air after officials recommended limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people. Global News has agreed to withhold her last name for privacy reasons.

Although her ceremony isn’t until June, Tania, who lives in Toronto, wants to cancel her March 21 wedding shower, but the venue is refusing to do so. 

“It doesn’t make sense to have a wedding shower happening in such an uncertain time,” she said. “I’d already reached out to some of my guests to see how they’re feeling. Some of them are nurses, and they say it’s wise to postpone it.”

Based on government recommendations, Tania called the venue on March 16 to ask for a date change or cancellation. 

“They just said it’s moving forward, it’s business as usual for them. I said, ‘I don’t feel comfortable holding an event during a time when the government is telling you to work from home,’” she said.

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