As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread, people are taking precautions like social distancing more seriously than ever.
Social distancing, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is the practice of maintaining at least three feet of distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. It’s just one measure being suggested to protect against the spread of the highly contagious new coronavirus.
Many people — even health officials — have started using handshake alternatives. And France has even told citizens to stop participating in “bise,” the very French practice of kissing each other on the cheek.
Given that handshakes and kisses are being curtailed and working remotely is being encouraged, single people may wonder if they should “social distance” themselves from dates and simply stay home.
Tinder got ahead of the curve, creating a pop-up with health safety reminders and linked to information from WHO:
While pop-ups haven’t shown up (yet) on other dating apps, a spokesperson from Bumble pointed out its voice call and video chat feature, should people not want to meet up in person.
Dr. Natasha Fuksina, Diplomate of American Board of Internal Medicine, also suggested Skype or FaceTime if it’s a first date and you have some reservations. “It will lessen some of the fears and help build trust and a relationship going forward,” she told Mashable.
Dr. Taylor Graber, an anesthesiology resident at the San Diego with University of California San Diego, said that dating does not need to stop because of COVID-19. “I do not believe we need to shut down dating amid the coronavirus. In young, healthy adults, there is a very low risk of contracting serious consequences of the illness,” he said in an email to Mashable.
Common sense, however, still applies. If you have viral symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, and runny nose, that’s when you should definitely avoid dating and kissing others, according to Graber. Fuksina agreed, citing the CDC and WHO guidelines.
And if you’re already in an established relationship? The same rules apply. Fuksina also noted that it’s important to be mindful of your partner’s concerns. Graber emphasized that honestly is necessary; if you do not feel well, postpone — your date will understand, especially now.
So, if you are not sick and want to continue to date, go for it. Just don’t bail and use the coronavirus as an excuse; we all know you could’ve just FaceTimed instead.