Lockdown restrictions are being lifted progressively in the UK, and in England, people are now allowed to meet outside again in groups of up to six people. What’s more, forming a ‘support bubble’ is now permitted, enabling single person households to couple up and share government-sanctioned time together if they so wish. 

But what about the single folk who don’t have an immediately obvious partner to welcome into their bubble and home? For those keen to resume dating, from a safe distance, of course, the idea of building intimacy from two metres might seem silly. But with a little bravery, daring and inventiveness, you might just meet someone really special.

It’s certainly one of the more interesting ‘how did you two meet?’ stories you could pen. With that in mind, if you’re looking for love in lockdown, here are 5 socially distanced first date ideas.

HOST AN ALFRESCO, DISTANCED DINNER

Just because restaurants are open doesn’t mean you can’t share a romantic dinner together, either in your garden if you’re lucky enough to have one, or over a picnic in the park or on the beach, equally. 

Outdoor dating throughout the pandemic certainly requires creativity, but an alfresco, socially distanced dinner needn’t be a complicated, stressful affair to prepare. Due to the strangeness of the situation and the usual shadow of awkwardness which hangs over a dinner date, it’s wise to keep the food simple, light and easy to eat, rather than throwing an intricate three course spread. Ensure there’s some wine to calm the nerves, and you’re good to go!

STROLL FROM A SAFE DISTANCE

Though a romantic, hand-in-hand stroll is a date as old and traditional as time itself, it’s simply not possible here. But let’s be honest; who exactly is holding hands on a first date anyway? Wow, you certainly move fast!

Anyway, a gentle stroll through the park or other scenic route can be a low stakes way to get to know your potential partner. There’s something about the changing scenery and side-by-side nature of such a date which elicits fresh conversation and tends to remove a fair amount of discomfort from the occasion, too. If you’re keen on starting slow and keeping things simple, a romantic walk together, with those now infamous two metres between you, sounds just the ticket.

ZOOM SPEED DATING

A first date (or several) where you don’t even have to leave your house? For pure efficiency, in weeding out those unsuitable for you and compiling a shortlist of potential dates worthy of meeting in person, online speed dating couldn’t be more serviceable. In fact, a new virtual speed dating show called Zoom to Groom is already being shown live on Facebook every Saturday at 10pm, with 90 second dates being broadcast to thousands of viewers.

If you don’t want your first dates to be shown to the world, then Event Brite is currently detailing daily online speed dating events in London, as well as many other cities besides. Go on, give it a go!

A GAME OF TENNIS

‘Tonsil tennis, don’t you mean?’, someone sniggers from the back of the class. Nope, real, genuine, 24 metres-between-you tennis. Though it might sound like a strange first date, it’s certainly one which won’t compromise either of your immune systems, with the length of the tennis court a guaranteed safe social distance. Whether or not that will also represent an obstacle to conversation remains to be seen, but at the very least you’ll be able to appraise your potential partner’s fore and backhand. Perhaps you’ll even find (forty) love. 

GO TO THE PICTURES TOGETHER FROM YOUR OWN SEPERATE SOFAS

Netflix recently added a lockdown friendly feature (Netflix Party) which allows friends, family or even first daters to watch a film together in real time. Complete with a chat window, logging onto Netflix Party and hanging out virtually might even replicate the oh-so-traditional ‘first date at the pictures’ experience. Personally, we couldn’t think of a worse first date, but it might work for some!

Hey, while you’re here; if you’re looking for first dates and folk to talk to via dating apps, check out our tips on making your dating profile ping. We expect an invite to the wedding. Good luck!