It’s been a tough year for everyone, but spare a thought for singles who are looking to find love in lockdown.
Covid-19 has presented many barriers for dating, none less so than the current stay home order, which mostly bars people from meeting up with anybody from another household, other than for limited recreation or exercise.
Even if a recreational/exercise walk outdoors date does go well, prospective couples are banned from getting close physically – with even hugs and handholding off limits at the moment.
Meeting venues, like bars and coffee shops, remain closed too.
But the roadmap out of lockdown offers hope for those looking to take the next step after months of messaging on the likes of Hinge, Tinder and Bumble.
Restrictions ease from today and are set to relax further from April 12.
Here is how the roadmap affects dating, when you can date again, when you can kiss and even when you may be able to spend the night with someone you don’t live with.
Dating during lockdown, when can I go on a date?
Technically, you could go on a date of sorts now, as you can leave home for ‘recreation and exercise outdoors’ with one person from outside your household.
You will have to socially distance, by keeping at least 2 metres apart and a long date is out of the question, as Government advice on recreation and exercise says “you should minimise the time you spend outside your home for this, and you should not travel outside your local area” until at least March 29.
Changes on Covid-19 restrictions which kicked-in when the stay home order ended on March 29 give daters more options.
From March 29, outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two different households are allowed.
That means you can sit outside with someone from another household, so a date in the park can go ahead. But you won’t be able to get close, as social distancing rules will still apply until at least May 17 – and could be in place beyond that.
From April 12, you could go on a date to sit outside a cafe or pub, as they can reopen from April 12 if the roadmap goes to schedule. Again, social distancing rules will still apply and your date will have to take place entirely outdoors.
If the roadmap runs to plan, restrictions on social distancing could be eased for step 3, due to start on May 17. Step 3 allows for dates to take place indoors from May 17, as group of up to six can meet inside in a public or private setting. Overnight stays with another household could be be permitted from May 17. But even if couples can meet inside and stay over by May 17, they may still have to stick to social distancing rules until at least June 21.
Hugs, kisses and more between people from separate households could potentially be allowed again from May 17 at the earliest, although the Government does not have to review social distancing measures until before June 21 and may wait until then to do so.
By June 21, the Government aims to remove most restrictions on social contact, allowing dates to return as normal.
When are, hugging, kissing and sex allowed?
Anyone on a date with someone they don’t live will have to wait until step 3 – due to start on May 17 – at least before the Covid-19 rules could allow hugging, kissing and sexual contact. And there is a chance they will have to wait more than a month after step 3 does start.
The roadmap says: “As soon as possible and by no later than step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.”
Don’t get too excited about May 17 though. While the Government says it will update the social distancing advice by May 17, that does not mean it will completely remove restrictions. A full review on social distancing will be completed before June 21, when step 4 is due to begin. That means social distancing measures could still be in place between May 17 and June 21, so those on dates would still have to avoid contact.
The roadmap says: “Finally, before step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted.”
May 17 is also the date when people from separate households will be allowed to mix indoors and stay overnight at each other’s homes or in a hotel. Again, they may have to maintain social distancing, which would mean no hugging, no kissing and no sharing a bed until late June.
Finally, remember all dates in the roadmap are subject to change.
I want to look my best! When can I get a haircut or visit a beautician?
Hairdressers, barbers, nail bars and beauticians can all reopen from April 12, if the roadmap runs as planned. Non-essential retailers can open on the same day.
Expect appointments to be in high demand!