Found Love in a Hopeless Place: Celebrating Valentine’s Day in a Pandemic


Photo Courtesy/ Unsplash engin akyurt

The weather is chilly, but your heart feels warm. You’ve got your favorite chocolates and your significant other walking you to class. The hallways are filled with couples blocking your path, but you’re too smitten to notice. The Dunkin’ in Marillac is selling heart-shaped donuts. Life is good. 

Remember that? It’s a scene from years past, but we’re most likely not going to experience it this year, despite the arrival of a long-awaited vaccine. 

Valentine’s Day is going to be a lot different this year for everyone, not just us Johnnies. The sidewalks of the city likely won’t be brimming with loved-up pairs on romantic strolls and the restaurants will surely not be packed with couples at candle-lit tables. Maybe Rihanna was right; maybe this year we’re finding love in a hopeless place. 

Date ideas for last year’s holiday included a night out at the cinema, dinner and a Broadway show, frolicking in the halls of a museum or retail therapy. Broadway and movie theaters are still closed, but going out to dinner could be a possibility  as Governor Cuomo  recently announced the reopening of indoor seating in New York City on Valentine’s Day. Couples no longer have to sit in the cold, although outdoor seating in the cold NYC weather would provide men with a reason to lend the ladies their coat — take notes, boys. If you’re not up for that but you still want to sit outdoors, some restaurants in the city offer heated outdoor seating in separate bubbles, such as Maiella in Long Island City. The streets of Manhattan will be less crowded, so you can roam around Times Square with ease. Some museums are open at partial capacity, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and pop-up museums like ARTECHOUSE.

It’s important to remember that we still are in the middle of a pandemic. Getting tested often is extremely important, especially if you plan on spending Valentine’s Day with a special someone. Last year, looks might have been the most attractive thing about someone, but this year it’s how well they follow the CDC guidelines in the middle of a pandemic. 

Though COVID-19 restrictions may put a damper on Valentine’s Day plans, there are still a few activities to do with your significant other — or friend, if you’re anti-valentine. If you do your part in keeping a safe distance from others, wear your mask and get tested frequently, you could make the day just as memorable as in years past. Hopefully, with the availability of a vaccine and the continued sacrifices of normalcy, we might be able to return to our regularly scheduled programming for Valentine’s Day next year. Maybe you’ll receive a dozen roses and a mask, or a box of chocolates and some hand sanitizer. For now, just remember: if they wanted to, they would, even in the middle of a pandemic.