COVID-19

As “social distancing” becomes the new norm, will online dating start to lose its appeal?

Jasmine Garsd Mar 11, 2020
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Tinder has canceled the release of a new choose-your-own-adventure series due to COVID-19. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
COVID-19

As “social distancing” becomes the new norm, will online dating start to lose its appeal?

Jasmine Garsd Mar 11, 2020
Tinder has canceled the release of a new choose-your-own-adventure series due to COVID-19. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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You could say online dating — meeting people virtually while you decide whether or not to meet them in person — is already a form of “social distancing.”

Now that we’re in throes of COVID-19 and another form of social distancing has become best practice, what will become of Tinder, OkCupid and Bumble?

Thomas Jerin is pretty active in the world of online dating. He’s on Tinder and Grindr, and goes on one or two dates a week. But this week Jerin — who is 25 and lives in Oregon — canceled every date.

“I feel a little bit like Chicken Little for it, but I canceled that date,” Jerin said. “And then I had some things planned for this weekend that I’m canceling as we speak.”

Jerin is not telling people that he’s canceling because he’s worried about getting COVID-19. “I’m so ashamed to admit it,” he said.

Analysts say online dating apps are bound to take a hit.

“As the virus keeps spreading, that fear is going to increase,” said Ali Mogharabi, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar. “What that means for the company is higher churn and less growth in subscribers. I mean, you look at the stock and it’s certainly come down a lot.”

Dating apps are starting to make adjustments to the new reality. Tinder has canceled the international release of “Swipe Night” — a choose-your-own-adventure series that was scheduled to launch internationally this weekend. The company has also added a pop-up screen that reminds people to wash their hands and not touch their faces. In the long run, according to Mogharabi, dating apps are likely to remain profitable.

“In our opinion, after growth and the coronavirus cases plateau — or let’s just say slow down — you know, fears begin to subside,” Mogharabi said.

Until then, “Netflix and chill” might be something you want to do on your own.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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