Ireland has banned ‘non-essential’ foreign travel as part of its attempt to manage Covid-19, but people have figured out that if they want a vacation abroad all they need to do is make a dentist appointment. Reportedly thousands of people are doing it. Especially popular are dentists on the beach in Spain.
Dentists in Spain’s Canary Islands say they’re receiving up to 15 booking requests daily from inbound Irish travelers — the vast majority of whom don’t turn up for their appointment.
Ireland’s National Immigration Bureau said around a third of travelers to Tenerife, for example, are telling officers they must travel for essential medical reasons and show an email confirmation of a dental appointment. Many travel with companions, who are permitted to accompany what the official guidance calls “a vulnerable person who needs essential treatment.”
…While the head of the country’s police force, Commissioner Drew Harris, went on Ireland’s most popular TV variety show to warn travelers they could be fined or even jailed, rank-and-file officers at Dublin Airport say they’re powerless to stop those carrying dental declarations.
Even if these dental appointments could be proven fraudulent that just means a 500 euro fine, which might be budgeted into the trip. Many people have extra money in their travel budgets after reduced spending over the past year.
Traditionally dental holidays are booked by older travelers but according to a dental clinic in Tenerife they’ve “been receiving five to seven emails daily from inbound Irish travelers — many of them couples in their teens and 20s — seeking appointments.” And these people are no showing their dental booking, which has caused dentists to begin insisting on prepayment. Now there’s discussion of dental clinics developing a reporting system where missed appointments are reported to Irish police.
If you’re going to use the dental loophole, and prepay, you might as well get a cleaning out of it, even though “current law permits travelers to be charged only at the point they attempt the overseas journey, not after the fact.”
There’s a loophole for everything, like buying a plane ticket to visit an airport bar where those remain open as part of airports during lockdowns or faking essential worker letters in order to authorize travel to take jobs abroad in the face of bans on leaving a country. Even testing can be an expensive hassle so people without the virus are faking negative tests. On one flight 95% of passengers presented fake negative results.
(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)