A new dating app has been launched amid the coronavirus pandemic to help people find love while in quarantine, but you can only virtually connect with potential partners if you’ve washed your hands.
Daniel Ahmadizadeh and Christopher Smeder developed Quarantine Together last month to help singles combat the inevitable loneliness the comes with hunkering down at home by yourself for weeks, possibly months, on end.
‘People need to stay home and people will be lonely when they stay at home,” Ahmadizadeh told CNN, admitting that they were also looking to pass the time when they created the app.
New world: The coronavirus-inspired dating app Quarantine Together connects matches via text and video chat
Anonymous: There are no user bios or photos; the matches only know each other’s names
‘We wanted to build something that is not just great for others, but for our selfish purposes so we don’t get bored,’ he explained. ‘I watch basketball when I get home but that’s not on.’
The Quarantine Together website and app launched on March 15, exactly a week after he bought the domain name.
The app is specifically designed for love in the time of the coronavirus. You don’t even have to leave your couch.
Every day at 6 p.m., users receive a text message asking if they washed their hands or stayed at home. If they reply yes, they’re matched with another user via text.
After 15 minutes of chatting, the users are sent a link to a video chat that they can use if they’d like to continue the conversation virtually face to face.
Ahmadizadeh noted that the app eliminates superficial bias from the start by being mostly anonymous.
Rules: Every night at 6 p.m., users have to confirm they washed their hands or stayed at home before they are matched with someone via text
There are no bios or photos posted by users; the matches only know each other’s names when they first connect. With most, if not all, of the conversing being done via text, there is little to no pressure.
According to Ahmadizadeh, Quarantine Together had about 200 sign-ups when it was launched, and that number has been growing by 50 per cent each day.
Nivi Jayasekar told CNN she was excited to try out the new dating app because she still wants to make connections with people in her home city of San Francisco, even if she isn’t technically dating.
‘It was a hilarious idea,’ she said. ‘I liked it because I feel like it’s an opportunity to form a deeper connection with someone before meeting them.’
The Quarantine Together site stresses that users should not attempt to break quarantine and meet — even if they do fall in love.
There is even a little coronavirus humor. In the FAQ section, the app jokes that dates will not be hot — ‘they’ll be 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.’
Stay apart: The Quarantine Together site stresses that users should not attempt to break quarantine and meet — even if they do fall in love
Love in the time of coronavirus: Quarantine Together had about 200 sign-ups when it was launched, and that number has been growing by 50 per cent each day
It’s unclear if video chatting will become the new norm, or if it will go out of style once singles are able to leave their homes actually meet.
Ahmadizadeh claims that other dating apps have become ‘irrelevant’ amid the pandemic, but they have also been taking measures to adapt to their users’ new dating needs.
OKCupid, Hinge, and Coffee Meets Bagel have all urged singletons to embrace social distancing and not go out on dates — but, they’ve pointed out, that doesn’t mean romance and the search for The One has to end.
The apps are all encouraging users to stick to virtual dates at the moment, using texting, phone calls, FaceTime, and Skype for their romantic needs.
Tinder recently made their Tinder Passport feature, which allows people to match with anyone around the world, free.
Meanwhile, Bumble has released a guide to dating during the global crisis that was written by an epidemiologist.
Both of the popular dating apps have seen an increase in messaging last month.
Tinder had a 10 to 15 per cent increase in daily messages in mid-March, according to Mother Jones, while Bumble reported a 21 per cent increase in messages sent over the app in the U.S. the week after March 12.