Dating sites, private jets boom

The building is on fire, the ship is sinking, the world is at an end – and two lovers kiss. But could an epic romance you were so comfortably watching suddenly turn into horror?

If Tinder is asking you to ‘maintain social distance’, you know something is wrong. And although being a loner is quite literally in fashion now, some businesses are booming, and they don’t promote seclusion.

Think dating. Already searching for love in hopeless places, singletons today are confronted by a new dilemma- risk infection, or remain forever alone. But it’s an easy choice for some.

PTI reports that about every nine out of ten people globally are willing to venture out during the outbreak for a date, according to dating platform OkCupid.

In India, about three-fourths (74%) of respondents said they would go out on a date despite the virus outbreak. While this is much lower than the global average of 88 per cent, it is certainly higher than Italy, where the virus left over 1000 dead, and where only 45 per cent respondents said ‘yes’ to dates despite the virus warning.

With an increasing number of millennials turning to platforms like Tinder, OkCupid and Bumble to find friends and life partners, singletons unfairly burdened by coronavirus are finding themselves forced into a sort of physical social separation (as if we didn’t have enough of that already), as people stay away from places like malls and cinema theatres. How does one then turn digital chatting into real-life conversations?

Requests and demands for private jets increased tenfold
Requests and demands for private jets increased tenfold Shutterstock

By turning the situation around. Like Southern Jet did.

Two weeks prior to a March 8 article by the New York Times, requests and demands for private jets increased tenfold, reported the private jet-135 operator. Florida’s Southern Jet gets clients ‘out of everywhere’, and has the right to manage airplanes and sell them for charter. It’s mostly for people, businesses and families with means, who have the wealth and luxury of private travel, and can afford $4000 an hour.

Jerod Davis, the owner of Southern Jet says they’ve been busy the past four odd years, sending sales forces out looking for clients. But now, “ the demand is basically coming to us,” he said.

With only about 1800 private jet operators, a lot of people with the means, and oil prices going way down, Davis calls it their ‘perfect storm’. But clarifying his stance, he said there is almost a level of guilt, capitalising on this demand, because nobody wants to be sick. “But if we can be an option,” he says, “We want to be a good option.”

Flipkart is encouraging the use of digital and video tools to ensure business continuity
Flipkart is encouraging the use of digital and video tools to ensure business continuity Shutterstock

Speaking of good things, meeting your date locally or flying cross country may not be a good idea at the moment. But businesses like Flipkart are doing their employees a good turn.

The e-commerce company is offering its workers with small children (till 5th grade) to work from home during these troubled times. Its group company PhonePe has also asked most employees to work from home (WFH) until further notice.

Like several other businesses across the country, Flipkart, too, is encouraging the use of digital and video tools to ensure business continuity.

Other start-ups like Urban Company, the erstwhile Urban Clap which provides home services from makeup to plumbing, is doing its bit to aid their workforce. The company has rolled out health insurance and income protection cover for 30,000 service professionals active on its platform in India.

“Under this new insurance cover, service professionals are offered a hospitalisation cover of up to Rs 25,000 and income protection cover of up to Rs 14,000 in the event of hospitalisation due to positive diagnosis of coronavirus,” the company said in a statement.

Their Covid-19 coverage will be in addition to the existing life, accidental and health insurance plans provided by the home services marketplace to its professionals.

But it’s not just businesses big and small that are lending a helping hand.

In Kerala, prisons have been given the task of manufacturing masks, in light of a shortage. “It has commenced on a war footing basis,” tweeted Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday. He also posted photographs of the first batch of masks which was handed over by Thiruvananthapuram Jail.

In Kerala, prisons have been given the task of manufacturing masks, in light of a shortage
In Kerala, prisons have been given the task of manufacturing masks, in light of a shortage Twitter/@vijayanpinarayi

In Kerala, prisons have been given the task of manufacturing masks, in light of a shortage. “It has commenced on a war footing basis,” tweeted Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday. He also posted photographs of the first batch of masks which was handed over by Thiruvananthapuram Jail.

The state, which was the first in India to report a positive Covid-19 case on January 30, has employed manufacturing units in several state prisons. The Economic Times reported that the Kerala government has also attempted to increase the supply of hand sanitisers with the help of the Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals (KSDP), which is expected to produce 10 lakh bottles in 10 days.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has over 1,50,000 confirmed cases and over 5000 deaths to its name globally, has taken 2 lives in India where there are 84 confirmed cases at present.

Take Tinder’s advice. Use that hand sanitiser. Adulting can wait!

 

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