If a company cancelled an event due to COVID, are attendees entitled to a refund? I believe not but there have been recent disputes regarding this issue and was curious if there has been any outcome? Specifically interested in NY.

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Depends on the terms in place when people paid for the event.

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If they decided to outright cancel with no plan of rescheduling for those who have already paid, then they should be issuing refunds. Otherwise, that's just theft.

I know there was a lot of talk early on in the pandemic about whether force majeure clauses would be activated; I'm pretty sure most firms/lawyers determined they would likely not. So, without a force majeure clause in play, what principal of contract law would allow these businesses to just keep the money without ever providing the service? If it's somehow in their contract that they can cancel without refunding, I would argue that it's unconscionable and against public policy.

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Aso, of the argument is that the event provider has nonrefundable fees, the argument goes up the chain. The vendor should refund or provide the services/goods. The event provider should look to the vendors, not its customers, to work things out. It should not be the consumer's burden in this situation.

They have to at least partially. Otherwise businesses that book far in advance would pocket loads of money without providing anything in return. Especially if the business is the one that pulled the trigger (as opposed to say the governor closing the business)

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Fyre Festival is a legit business model.

To give some greater context: My friend’s mother booked a weeklong retreat for her and her family in April. She cancelled 29 days before the retreat due to COVID concerns and, per the contract, is not entitled to a refund. Eventually, the company cancelled the retreat altogether due to COVID and gave everyone a refund but her, and made it clear they were doing so for punitive reasons.

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