Jennifer Sherlock met a few men through dating apps early in the coronavirus epidemic. She said that the dates were “weird” because they were unmasked, distant, and out in nature.

Sherlock found it reckless that a date kept their identities secret while out on a walk. He then invited her back to the house. She said, “It was so off-putting, and awkward.” “So, we wouldn’t feel safe outside without mask(s), but would be safe back at his house maskless?”

She realized she needed a way of filtering people so she started arranging video chats, before meeting anyone in person. Sherlock, 42, is a New Jersey-based PR consultant. She said that it is a practice she will continue after the pandemic.

Sherlock wasn’t the only one to change the way she used dating apps in the wake of the pandemic. Many other people have also started rolling out new features. Despite the social distancing of the past 18 months, the use of dating apps in general has surged as people sought connections amid their isolation.

Tinder reported that 2020 was the busiest year it has ever had. This year, Tinder users set two new records in terms of usage between January and March. Hinge has tripled its revenue between 2019 and 2020. The company anticipates that it will double this year.

Tinder recently announced new tools that will enable users to meet people online. Tinder users will be able add videos to their profiles and can chat with other members even before they match with them.

Jess Carbino is an online dating expert and sociologist who worked for Tinder and Bumble. “Historically consumers weren’t willing to connect via video because it wasn’t necessary,” she said. She said that many people now expect higher levels of screening after COVID. Online dating apps such as Tinder are embracing this.

According to dating apps, video chats are here for the long-term.

Nearly half of Tinder users were able to videochat with a match during pandemic. 40% intend to continue these chats after the outbreak. Tinder claims that this is due to Gen Z users in their late teens or early 20s who now account for more than half the users of the app. A majority of Hinge UK users (69%) also stated that they will continue to use virtual dates even after the pandemic.

Tinder, alongside other popular apps including Hinge, OkCupid and Bumble, has in Britain and the U.S. partnered with the government to add a badge to profiles indicating that users have been vaccinated. Matches could lie if there is no verification.