Valentine’s date night: COVID-19 edition

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Valentine’s Day is Sunday, Feb. 14

Gracie Wilson, AU-LIVE MANAGING EDITOR

We all know that COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in the plans since about this time last year. Birthdays, Summer vacations, Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas gatherings all looked different or did not take place at all in the past year.

The newest addition to that list is Valentine’s Day.

While the nights out and dinner dates will look different for couples everywhere this year, that does not mean that the day has to be any less special. There are plenty of safe ways to celebrate with the one you love.

Have an indoor picnic
Picnics have made a comeback in a big way throughout the pandemic, but the colder weather does not have to bring this new trend to a halt. If cooking is one of your talents, then cook your S.O.’s favorite food or a romantic Italian meal.

Mini pizzas or pasta make great entrées and chocolate covered strawberries are a Valentine’s Day staple.

If you are in college and do not have access to a kitchen or if cooking is not one of your talents, then you could take the route of a takeout picnic. Tons of restaurants have given carry out options through the pandemic, so there is no limit to the meal you can choose. Once you have your menu set, spread out a blanket, set the dishes out and enjoy a meal together.

Visit an art museum
Museums are pretty COVID-19 friendly because there is plenty of room for social-distancing, especially because many of them sell their tickets in advance to make sure there are not too many people.

Art museums are also not as hands on as science or natural history museums that have more interactive experiences. An art museum is a great way to take in beauty, learn something new and go somewhere fun with your special someone all while being considerate of current mandates and restrictions.

If you are around the Ashland area, you can check out the Cleveland Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art, or Otherworld in Columbus. All of these locations are open and allowing visitors.

Embrace the winter weather together
We all know that Ohio winters can be unbearably cold, but there are still plenty of ways to have fun in the ice and snow. Ice skating is a fun and romantic way to spend time with one another. Glide on the ice, try some new tricks and of course help each other up if you fall.

If you are looking for something a little more upbeat, try skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing. Even though this is Ohio and not the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, there are still ways to get that slope experience. Snow Trails in Mansfield has ski slopes, snowboarding trails and a snow tubing course—they even offer glow tubing after dark.

Get dressed up and go out on the town
Reading that probably does not sound very COVID-19 friendly, but it certainly can be. You can get dressed up without having a specific place to go. Cleveland is a semi-nearby and walkable city. Plus, there is plenty of space to ensure everyone is keeping a safe distance from one another.

Between the little shops, locally owned bars and restaurants and picturesque sights, there are plenty of ways to get fancy and have a good time.

Recreate your elementary school Valentine’s Day party
We all know that Valentine’s Day was awesome in grade school (before it got awkward in middle school) so why not bring back those memories?

Decorate a shoebox, get some cheap little greeting cards from the grocery store, bake some heart shaped cookies to decorate and play some games.

This idea is not just for couples either, get a couple friends together and make your own throwback Valentine’s Day party. This is a great way to recreate childhood moments with friends you made in your twenties.

Make your own Valentine’s drinks/have an at home wine tasting
While a lot of bars and restaurants are open, they close at 10 p.m. and not everyone may feel comfortable going out for drinks right now. Remedy this issue but keep the romance by making some Valentine’s Day themed mixed drinks at home or even doing a wine tasting. (Of course, please drink responsibly and never under the age of 21.)

Bring the movie theater to your own home
Movie theaters have been one of the main businesses that have closed and remained shut down for a majority of the pandemic. If you and your S.O. love to watch movies together, watch an old favorite at home, something new neither of you have ever seen or make it a double feature.

We all know that popcorn is the best part of going to the movies, so be sure to pop some (with extra butter) and pick up some boxed candy at the grocery store to keep the theater nostalgia alive.

While it may appear that COVID-19 would come through and squash your romantic plans for Valentine’s Day, there are definitely ways to make the holiday memorable from home or from a safe distance to others in public. Just be a little creative with your celebration, and nothing can stop you and your S.O. from date night together.