05/13/2020 16:45 EDT

Dating During Coronavirus? Dr. Bonnie Henry Says It’s OK — With Some Rules

Dr. Bonnie Henry says residents can start dating again — but you need to be smart about it.

VANCOUVER — Being single during the COVID-19 pandemic sucks. Unless you like being alone all the time, I guess.

While many people’s lockdown experience has been spent with a spouse or long-term partner, where they can presumably hug each other, talk face-to-face and depend on each other, for single people that’s not the case. 

I haven’t touched another human being since early March, let alone had any sort of romantic contact. My dating app activity dried up by early April as everyone realized we couldn’t actually meet in person. The only thing I’ve kissed in the past two months are my cats, repeatedly on their cute little heads. They’re getting tired of it. 

But as British Columbia moves toward reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials have given people the all-clear to start slowly expanding their social circles. B.C. residents can even even start hugging a select few close friends and family again.

Premier John Horgan, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix discuss reopening B.C.'s economy in phases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in Victoria, on May 6, 2020.

So what does that mean for hand-holding with a new person, swapping spit or even having sex? Surely that’s a prime way to spread the virus?

Speaking on behalf of all single British Columbians, I’m happy to report that B.C. chief medical officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has finally weighed in on dating in the age of COVID-19, and the newly emerging age of expanding your social bubble.

Henry said that yes, in B.C. it’s OK to start casually dating people outside of your own household again, almost certainly causing single people across the province to rejoice and frantically re-download their long-deleted dating apps

“Let’s find those opportunities to meet each other safely and if you happen to find somebody that you want to spend more close time with, then make your own connections,” she said.

B.C. announced last week that residents can start slowly to expand their social circle to gatherings with two to six people, ideally outdoors, so long as everyone limits their contacts with others and maintains social distancing. Now, we have confirmation that expansion can include new romantic interests. 

Let’s find those opportunities to meet each other safely and if you happen to find somebody that you want to spend more close time with, then make your own connections.Dr. Bonnie Henry

Henry acknowledged how lonely many single folks have likely felt throughout the pandemic. She noted that while people have found creative ways to find love in the age of COVID-19, from video call dates to simultaneously Netflix and chilling, it’s not the same as social human connection.

“Yes, we can look at how we’re going to connect with people, those people we have been talking to online,” she said. “We’re social people, we need that. But let’s do it in small, thoughtful ways, and also let’s be really concerned about ourselves and if we are feeling unwell or under the weather, put it off for another day.”

Translation: no orgies for the time being. But dating one person at a time? After two months of lockdown, that’s finally back on the table. 

Thirsty singles from Vancouver to Prince Rupert were already gearing up for their return to the dating market. 

Even beloved children’s musician Raffi checked in to see if Henry herself is single.

But he later clarified he just really respects her work.

Henry says that if B.C. residents are exploring new romantic or sexual partners, it’s best to keep it to one new contact at a time. 

“If you are going to start a relationship with somebody, this is not the time to do rapid serial dating,” she said.

She suggested a picnic in the park could be a very romantic date activity — so long as you keep a safe distance from other people and groups.

Later on in the press conference, Henry was asked specifically about kissing, a notably moist and respiratory-intensive activity.

“This is a respiratory virus that is spread through droplets. So yes, we’ve seen it with other diseases that can spread this way, so yes, I would expect that if somebody was sick with it and they were kissing somebody else, they could actually quite effectively pass it on that way,” she said.

Henry says if you plan on kissing anyone, try to keep it to just one person for a time period, and wait between partners. It’s important to remember that as soon as you kiss someone, their bubble effectively becomes part of your bubble.

“The people I have contact with, it means I’m contacting their contacts,” she said. “So if they’re somebody who’s been with a whole bunch of other people, then my risk would go up.”

“Pick somebody, see if it works and then take your time.”

Honestly, good dating advice for most relationships, pandemic or not. 

Anyway, time to change my Tinder bio to “looking to pick somebody, see if it works and take our time.” 

Will report back on results. 

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