Of course the only way to stay perfectly safe from the virus would be to stay home, avoid any and all outside human contact, order everything online, and disinfect any deliveries before bringing them inside.
And this might be a good idea if it is feasible in your situation and/or you belong to a risk group and/or have contact with a member of a risk group. Or of course, if you simply prefer to stay as safe as possible, as the risks of long term damages even for healthy people are anything but benign.
Assuming you have decided you want to continue living your life at a modicum of normalcy and maybe even find love, this post should provide some ground rules and date ideas to keep the risk of infection at a reasonable minimum.
Actually, as bad as the situation may get, the benefits of Tinder and online dating have never been greater than during a pandemic. At least this way there is no risk involved before actually meeting up for a date.
One thing I want you to keep in mind already, before all the tips and ideas below is that it might be better to be overly cautious at the moment and not try to move off Tinder and to real world dates as fast as possible. You might even consider having a Skype-Date first to see if a real date is worth it.
Common Date Venues and Behaviors to Avoid
Simultaneously one of the usual suspects for scoring dates in the first place, bars can not only be replaced by Tinder, but should be avoided for the dates you get from online dating as well.
This is especially true for popular, packed places, but they constitute an unnecessary risk either way.
Clubs & Concerts
Like Bars, but moreso, clubs and concerts are to be avoided at all costs.
If there is not already a ban on gatherings over a certain number of people in your state that is.
Sensing a theme here? Yes, we humans are social animals. Some of us more than others. Yes, parties are fun and can make for great dates, or lead to them.
But during a pandemic, that’s just not worth getting infected over, or infecting others.
Which leads us to typical and learned behaviors to avoid.
Sneezing into your hands
I’m not sure where this is even coming from, but so many people learned that it is polite to sneeze into their hands.
Well, it’s slightly better than projectile-sneezing directly into someone’s face at point blank range, but it doesn’t do much to stop the spread of viruses.
(You will touch things other people will touch after you with the hand you just sneezed into.)
Instead, please sneeze into your elbow, or if you have one at hand, a hankerchief or tissue.
I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it by now, but you just really shouldn’t be shaking any hands right now.
I know, “no bodily contact” doesn’t exactly set the romantic mood you want on a date, but it might be a good idea to keep a bit of a distance at least initially.
Once you’re reasonably sure your date isn’t exhibiting any symptoms (especially coughing and sneezing), feel free to scooch a bit closer.
And Hey, the distance might just get a tingle going.
Going out while feeling under the weather
This one should go without saying, but if you’re not feeling well, especially if you’re displaying any of the coronavirus symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, (dry) cough, or fever.
Just cancel the date, letting them know why. I’m sure your match will understand and vastly prefer postponing the date to getting infected by you.
Taking unnecessary Risks, especially if you are in a risk group
If you are over 50, or have any preexisting conditions (including being overweight) or an immunodeficiency, or have contact with such members of risk groups, it would be best to actually take the first bit of tongue in cheek advice in this post and stay home, if at all possible. No date is worth risking your life or long term damage to your health (such as lung damage) over.
Safe Date Idea
Before getting to the low risk ideas, I would like you to consider the no-risk option: Have a Skype (or Zoom, or whatever-video call) date.
The first date off a dating app should mainly serve to get a quick impression of the other person without committing to spending hours together. This is why getting a coffee at a nearby shop is usually one of the best first date ideas, even if it’s not exactly original. The more interesting and longer meeting should be reserved for a second date, or first real date if you will.
As such, a video call makes for a good replacement for a coffee date. It’s not perfect, of course. On the one hand, it’s even less effort and you get to try out a facsimile of speaking to the other person, on the other you don’t get that in-person chemistry. But during a pandemic, it’s an option you should consider before meeting up.
Safe(-ish) Date Ideas and Tips During a Pandemic
Meeting up at a bar may be the standard way to go, and it’s clear why: It’s easy, low effort, and usually includes a social lubricant. But there are other venues to explore and now you have the perfect excuse to try out something new without worrying that it will be “too much”.
To preface this list and to not have to repeat it every time: Whenever possible, wear a mask to reduce risk. Even outside. You will have to flirt with your eyes, but that has its own charm, doesn’t it?
Take a walk in the forest (or in the park)
Being in the forest naturally puts us at ease, and can even accelerate healing after surgery. There’s something about the repeating patterns that’s just good for our brains.
Combined with a mildly distracting activity like walking, it makes for fertile grounds for conversation. Nature will even provide conversation starters for you along the way.
Just don’t ask someone to go to the deep forest – where no one can hear them scream – with you for a first date.
And don’t forget to bring sparklers. Never leave home without sparklers.
A step up from the nearby park or forest, going for a hike together is not exactly a great first date idea, but you need something to do for your second, third, and one hundred eleventh date as well, don’t you?
Being away together for a day, mostly alone apart from the odd fellow hiker, will relatively quickly let you know if you can stand to be around each other, or if you’re a good team.
Plus, hiking is one of the healthiest things you can do, and there’s virtually no chance of catching the virus on a mountaintop devoid of other humans.
Have a picnic
More suitable for a first date. Find a cozy patch of grass nearby, bring a blanket, some food and wine, don’t forget your date, and enjoy a romantic sunset together while discussing your favorite cheeses.
Now, as you may have noticed, I like being in nature. A lot. I also feel more at ease staying away from gatherings of people, virus or no. So this is right up my wheelhouse.
I do understand not everyone is the same and maybe you don’t feel all that great in nature or going on a date far away from other people. Maybe you just don’t have any access to nature or nice parks close to home.
So here are some fun, pandemic-panic themed activities you could undertake together:
Start shopping to build a stockpile together
Invite your date to meet you at your favorite grocery or bulk goods store and go shopping for canned food and toiletries together.
It may sound like a joke, but there are several benefits to it that make this a great first date.
You get to know each other’s tastes, and making plans together gives you a glimpse of how compatible you are.
Of course, you’d be shopping for your individual stockpiles now, but who knows, maybe you’ll be combining them later.
Don’t forget your mask.
Pickle vegetables together
Given that you are already at a stage where you feel comfortable meeting up at home, this is a nice activity to do together.
Whether the vegetables come from your garden, your balcony pot farm, or the grocery store, preparing for the apocalypse together is fun and team-building as long as there is no actual apocalypse.
See a drive-in movie
Back in the boring non-apocalypse, going to see a drive-in movie together brings all the benefits of going to the cinema for a first date (no awkward silences, something to talk about after) without the sticky floors and germ filled air of a regular cinema.
The only difficulty could be finding such a venue in this day and age, but if you have one nearby, here’s a great opportunity to build up to ye olde yawn move.
Other events with small numbers of people
There are so many safe-ish things you could do together, depending on both of your tastes, that it’s hard to put together a complete list. Judging from other “first date ideas” posts you can find online, people have sure tried, mostly by listing every possible activity known to man.
You could go to a haunted house, go skydiving, bungie jumping, mountain climbing, take pottery classes, walk your dog together, go to a library, build a nuclear warhead from scratch, or look at open houses in the area. But you don’t need me to tell you that.
If an activity sounds fun, allows for wearing masks and keeping physical (not social) distance, and doesn’t involve gatherings of people, it’s a good idea for a coronavirus date.
Fun fact: This post was originally supposed to be called “Love in the Time of the Coronavirus” but a quick google search will reveal how unoriginal that idea was.
What do you think? Do you have any additional date ideas suitable for staying safe in a pandemic? Feel free to leave a comment below, or visit the SwipeHelper Subreddit. See you there ?