Anti-vax ranch in British Columbia denies refund to guest for pre-pandemic reservation


The owner of Equinisity Retreats considers COVID-19 vaccines “biological weapons” and has told her client she should sell her reservation to someone who is not vaccinated.

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Equinisity Retreats offers eight-day stays at an idyllic ranch outside of Kamloops for guests to experience “a spiritual adventure with horses and nature,” but not if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, a discovered a potential visitor from the UK.

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The woman detailed her situation to Guardian newspaper consumer columnist Anna Tims, explaining that before the pandemic shutdowns brought global tourism to a halt, she had booked a retreat for May 2020. After later accepting a postponement of the trip, she found out this year that the landlord did not allow her to visit because she was vaccinated against the COVID virus.

Instead of refunding the $2,800 she had paid in full and up front, however, owner Liz Mitten Ryan said the woman’s recourse would be to sell her reservation to someone who is not vaccinated, according to Tims’ column published May 26 on the Guardian’s website. .

In an email, Tims said she had heard many complaints about holiday companies refusing to refund customers during the closures, but it was the first time a company had “proactively banned customers , then sat on their money”.

And in the case of this client, the woman would be subject to Canada’s vaccination requirements to enter the country.

When reached by phone on Friday, Mitten Ryan said she considers COVID vaccines “biological weapons” and will not allow vaccinated people onto the property.

“Two and a half years ago, before COVID happened, I booked a lady from the UK,” Mitten Ryan said. “She was triple vaccinated, and I told her this year, ‘I don’t vaccinate people. You will have to sell (the reservation) to someone else who is (not vaccinated).

Mitten Ryan didn’t answer any questions before hanging up, but Equinisity’s website doesn’t mention its vaccination rules on its booking page, even though state pensions must be paid in full up front. and cancellations will only be credited to a future. retreat.

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Equinisity’s vaccination rules are also not listed on Destination BC’s Super Natural British Columbia website, and the organization is currently reviewing its terms and conditions to determine if Equinisity has breached any of their requirements.

“If a business does not comply with the terms and conditions, their business listing may be removed,” Destination BC’s Kristen Learned said in an emailed statement. Customers will likely need to file a complaint with Consumer Protection BC to resolve the refund issue.

As a Crown corporation, Destination BC has a mandate to support tourism through marketing and visitor services, “but has no jurisdiction over a company’s refund policies or provincial regulations”, wrote Learned.

However, as the industry opens up to more visitors, Destination BC encourages tourism operators to “implement all health orders and recommendations to maintain our reputation as a safe and responsible destination of choice.”

Amanda Parry of Consumer Protection BC said the organization had not received a complaint about Equinisity, but a formal grievance might be the best way to assess the customer’s “nuanced situation”.

The agency will take into account the time that has elapsed since the service was or has not been provided, when the consumer began to request a refund and whether he consented to the acceptance of credit for a service future.

“In those cases, we may not be able to press charges,” Parry said.

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