We were happy to partner with DoNYC to share some tips for getting back into the dating scene, while still protecting yourself from the coronavirus. See below for our latest, which was originally shared on their website.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been isolating for all of us. But for those who are looking to date, it’s been especially challenging. As New York City starts to reopen, folks can now start to dip their toes beyond the virtual dating pool, though the landscape has been transformed.
People who are dating in-person or hooking up should still try to minimize close contact. COVID-19 continues to spread in our communities so, before you engage in any of the in-person activities outlined below, be sure to ask your date whether they’ve been tested for COVID-19 recently or if they’ve experienced any symptoms in the last 14 days. Confirm that they’ve recovered fully if they were diagnosed with COVID-19.
You might also want to ask if they’ve been in close contact recently with anyone who has tested positive or experienced symptoms. Note that asking about symptoms or recent contact is not a perfect way to know if someone has COVID-19. When in doubt, it’s safer to postpone your in-person date and consider other options (for example, video dates). Here are some additional guidelines for how you can minimize your risk if you’re putting yourself out there.
Getting Together Safely
Remember these four key actions if you’re getting together with others: stay home if you’re sick or are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, maintain at least 6-feet of physical distance between yourself and others whenever possible, wear a face covering, and practice healthy hand hygiene (carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
Dates outside and away from crowds are preferable, since COVID-19 is more likely to spread when you meet indoors. This is a great opportunity to explore a local park or garden together. If you do decide to picnic, bring your own food, beverages, and utensils and don’t share to limit the risk of spreading the virus, since it’s still possible that either of you could be asymptomatic carriers.
You can now meet up for a date at a restaurant and dine outside. If you’re planning to dine out, try to limit your time waiting by making a reservation in advance and looking at the menu online so you don’t spend too much time ordering. Wear a face covering whenever you’re not eating or drinking.
Remember that you can spread COVID-19 even if you do not have symptoms—wearing a face covering helps protect the people around you.Continue to practice healthy hand hygiene as well. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when entering the restaurant, just before eating, and after leaving the restaurant. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom.
While restaurants are responsible for ensuring tables are spaced to appropriately account for social distancing, do your part by keeping your distance from other diners and restaurant staff as much as possible. And remember, ordering for takeout is always a great option too, especially on a gorgeous summer evening!
Sex and Intimacy
You should limit close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your chosen household. If you do plan to have sex with other people, have as few partners as possible and pick partners you trust. Talk about COVID-19 risk factors, just as you would discuss pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), condoms, and other safer sex topics before you hook up.
Even if you have vetted your new potential partner and have discussed COVID-19, close contact like sex still brings added risks. The New York City Department of Health has released a fabulous guide to safer sex during the COVID-19 pandemic – be sure to read it before you get down.
You should also plan to get tested monthly for COVID-19, or within five days after a hookup even if you do not have symptoms. Anyone who is dating should be mindful of their personal risk and the risk they might pose to others in their circle, like parents or grandparents, when interacting with someone new.
We’re all going to have to get creative if we want to date in this new environment. Following this guidance can help reduce your personal risk of getting sick, and protect that new special someone, whoever they may be.
The Fund for Public Health is the nonprofit partner to the New York City Health Department. Learn more about our work fighting the coronavirus and other epidemics.