Dating app Tinder is giving out pairs of COVID-19 tests to its users to encourage them to go on dates again in the spring.
Users in the US will be able to reserve two tests directly via the app – one for them, and one for their match.
Tinder is giving out 1,000 Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kits in total, so that 500 couples can go on a date. Users can claim the kits on a first come, first served basis starting at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. Tinder will then post the kits outs.
In February 2021, mentions of "go on a date" in US Tinder bios hit an all-time high.
"The pandemic has created no shortage of dating obstacles, but we think our members are pretty optimistic about getting back out there," Nicole Parlapiano, Tinder's VP of marketing for North America, told Insider.
"January 3 Swipe activity hit 3.4 billion, which was one of the busiest days of the entire pandemic," she added. On Tinder, users "swipe" left or right to say whether or not they want to match with another user.
This comes as some states, including Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Louisiana, have lifted COVID-19 safety measures, including restrictions on venues typically visited during dates such as restaurants, movie theaters, and bowling alleys.
More people have turned to dating apps during the pandemic as they look for virtual ways to meet new people. Insider Intelligence forecast the number of smartphone dating app users in the US would reach 26.6 million by the end of 2020 – an 18.4% increase from the year before.
The coronavirus test is going to be the new STD test, the founder of high-end dating app concierge service Love, Amy told Insider's Hillary Hoffower.
But experts say that people should still be cautious when going on dates.
"[Testing] doesn't tell you what's going to happen next week," Dr. Sandra Kesh, an infectious disease specialist, told Insider. "It doesn't tell you whether you had the infection last week and you no longer are shedding enough virus to make the test turn positive."
Kesh recommended that people going on dates ask their match about their social circle, how they socially distance, what they do for a living, and if they wear a mask, before meeting them.
Now that the COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out across the US, the emphasis could be shifting from tests to vaccines.
Singles get more "likes" on OKCupid if they've received a COVID-19 vaccine, Insider's Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported. And the dating app said it had seen a 137% increase in mentions of "vaccine" on its profiles globally between November and January.
Tinder's testing kits will be available on a first come, first served basis, starting at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.