The steps for how to date without contracting COVID-19 are similar to many other situations because the guidance for staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic is relatively consistent regardless of the context.
Know what questions to ask your date
You need to quickly get information about the other person to get a sense of how "COVID-sensitive" they are. This will help quickly establish expectations and understanding of what your risk levels are and what types of interactions either person is comfortable with.
- What kind of work do you do? Is it in person or at home? How do you prep for a regular day?
- Are you high risk for COVID-19? Do you live with any high risk family members or friends? How are you keeping them or yourself safe?
- What types of activities do you do for fun? How often do you do them?
- How are you staying social? What's the hardest part?
There's really no excuse for not keeping your dates outdoors. This is the best environment for any type of gathering during COVID, so don't let someone fool you into sitting indoors unless you really trust them or have evidence that they don't have COVID-19.
Keep your mask on or Stay 6 feet apart
Ideally, you'd do both, but usually it's hard to gauge attraction to someone with a mask on. So take your mask off but do stay socially distant; and assuming you're outdoors, you'll run a pretty low risk of contracting any viruses while still getting a good sense of the other person's looks, vibe and chemistry. Watch out for dates who get a little too close with their masks off without consent – this is not only annoying but also potentially a way to get COVID if it goes on for 15 minutes or longer.
Set your boundaries before you meet up
With all this, communication is key. It's important to let the other person know if/whether you are COVID-aware or COVID-sensitive; these are the terms I've been using and I've found it conveys the significance without totally killing the vibe. This will give your date a good idea that you don't want to go to an indoor bar but it doesn't mean you won't still get these types of date propositions. So just be clear and consistent in your expectation settings, keep your mask near you and don't be afraid to walk away if the other person isn't respecting your boundaries.
Happy Pandemic Dating :)