Some Winnipeggers are getting creative with the way they date and meet people


Marty Desrochers says he hasn’t met anyone for a date since officials announced social distancing. The 20-year-old hairdresser recently returned to work and uses social dating apps regularly./BRETT KELLY

Crowded bars, coffee shops filled to capacity, movie theatres bustling with patrons — all of this and more seems a distant memory to many young singles. First dates, blind dates and online dating were forced to change as businesses shuttered and people went into isolation. But for some, virtual dating is more relaxed than meeting in person.

Alexa Lacroix, a 29-year-old digital marketing specialist, says she’s been using dating apps like Tinder to stay connected. Recently, she had several virtual Netflix dates with someone she met online. 

With restaurants and other dating hotspots closed, Lacroix says postponing the first meeting from an online dating app is relieving.

“The pressure to meet right away was off,” Lacroix said. “We’ve had to be more creative in how we connect since we can’t really go for drinks anywhere.”

Though Lacroix has not had a date at a bar or restaurant, she took advantage of the recent warm weather to meet her online date for a walk through the park. She says her experience online dating during the pandemic has been positive.

“I think it forces people to connect without being physical at first,” she said. “There’s a lot more genuine conversation, but I don’t know if that’s universal.”

Brett Mikulik, 29, has been chatting with more people outside of his area, including some people in other countries. The product coordinator says he likes getting to know people on a date but has broadened his recent conversations on dating apps.

“It’s nice to get to know someone you might not have gotten to know before this,” said Mikulik. “I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic or just the guys I’ve talked to, but it seems like there are more substantial conversations.”

Mikulik says it’s unlikely he will meet new people during the pandemic because his mother is immunocompromised. 

On most dating apps, Lacroix says people appear to be more cautious about when, where and how they meet.

“I think a lot of the hookup guys just became more straightforward and easy to spot,” she said. “But most people won’t risk it for a one-time hookup.”

As of Friday, the province of Manitoba announced new leniencies for public gatherings, including gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors, provided social distancing rules are followed. Bars and restaurants will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity when the government introduces the next phase of reopening services in the coming weeks.