It's hardly a secret that dating in the time of the coronavirus has presented some tough situations to navigate. Although meeting a sexy stranger for the first time with half of your face covered might not be ideal, taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others is a must. So, should you wear a mask on a first date? The short answer is: absolutely, yes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also emphasize the importance of wearing a mask, especially when you're unable to remain 6 feet apart from people you don't live with. "Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain," reads the CDC website.
"Wearing a mask is mandated in most cities nowadays," Susan Winter, a New York City-based relationship expert, tells Elite Daily. "Meeting a date for the first time doesn’t fall into a special category that would eliminate that safety protocol."
Now, if you're thinking this is great news and you can continue dating like usual as long as you wear a mask, wait a sec. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Vincent R. Racaniello, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, believes that meeting up for an in-person date with anyone poses major risks, even if you're both wearing masks. "Dating a stranger is absolutely not a good idea as long as the SARS-CoV-2 virus is circulating," Dr. Racaniello previously told Elite Daily. "Although cases are declining rapidly in many major U.S. cities, the virus is still present. You simply don't know if your date is infected, as many infected people don't show symptoms. The pandemic has destroyed and disrupted many aspects of society, and first dates are one of them."
The lines get blurrier if you and a date are planning on meeting at a restaurant. Even if the seating is outdoors, you will have to slide your masks down to eat or drink. "When meeting for drinks or a meal, you’d need to remove your mask at some point," explains Winter. "If you're willing to take the risk and meet in person, use common sense and follow city health guidelines." However, for the time being, IRL interactions are still not ideal. Dr. Racaniello explained that there's absolutely no way to 100 percent guarantee that you or your date aren't infected when you meet.
"You could ask your date to have a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test to determine if he or she's infected," said Dr. Racaniello. "Same for yourself. However, it will take several days to get the results, at which time you or they could be infected again. Sadly, there's no way to make a first date safer until a vaccine is available." If you and your date have decided to meet despite the risks, it's so important to ensure that you are both on the same page about social distancing as much as possible and agreeing to mask-up.
Dealing with the romantic setbacks and loneliness that coronavirus has cause many people is definitely not easy. Ultimately, only you can decide how much of a risk you are willing to take to go on a first date. That said, wearing a mask in public is an important part of ensuring your safety and the safety of those around you.