COVID-19

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

Jasmine Garsd Mar 11, 2020
HTML EMBED:
COPY
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:
COPY

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

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

Read More

Collapse

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.