Despite warnings from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, and data showing an increase in COVID-19 cases amongst younger age groups, some Calgary singles are ready to return to their normal dating lives as provincial restrictions begin to ease.

As of June 28, the highest number of active COVID-19 cases in Alberta were reported in the 20-39 year-old age group. According to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, this is a trend that began just before June and has persisted throughout the month.

“Over the past few weeks, province-wide we have begun to see a younger demographic testing positive for COVID-19,” she said at her June 12 press conference, which also marked the beginning of phase 2 of the province’s relaunch strategy. 

Despite this uptick, some Calgary singles, like 38-year-old Chris Zinnick, admit that although the pandemic undoubtedly changed the dating landscape for a period of time, he’s ready to get back to dating like he did before COVID-19.

“I don’t see it making me more cautious.” 

Despite initially taking some precautions, Chris Zinnick, 38, is ready to go back to dating like he did before COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Chris Zinnick.

Zinnick admits that for a while he was using some caution when it came to deciding whether to meet someone in-person, something he said a lot more people seemed interested in doing despite the pandemic. Now, he’s easing up. 

“When this thing first kicked off, I [would] always ask them, ‘Are you still working? Who do you see?’ You know, questions like that. I didn’t exactly feel comfortable going to meet somebody if [they’re] hanging out with 50 friends every week,” he said. “But.. no, I don’t even think I’d ask anymore.” 

Others, like 30-year-old Brinn Hoppe, admit to only being slightly more careful about dating now — and more so for the sake of others around them as opposed to concerns about their own health. 

“I have a little boy, so me having people coming around him that may not be taking [the pandemic] as seriously was kind of one of those things where it was like, I don’t need a bunch of randoms around my son that could possibly get him sick.” 

Hinshaw noted that, at the very least, young Albertans need to keep taking precautions for reasons exactly like this. 

“It is important for younger Albertans to remember that, while you may not be at risk for severe outcomes of infection, your actions are critical to protecting those around you… who are at higher risk.” 

Still, at her June 15 press conference, she said that she understands why people are eager to get back to social activities like dating — even as she stressed there is still a need for vigilance. 

“We are all hardwired for social connection and need this connection to stay healthy ⁠⁠— let’s keep thinking of all the ways we can connect while we also prevent transmission.”

Brinn Hoppe, 30, is still exercising some caution when it comes to dating to protect her young son. Photo courtesy of Brinn Hoppe