COVID-19 and Valentine’s Day: Not a Match Made in Heaven

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Since March 2020, every major holiday has adapted to a pandemic-friendly style experience.

However, Valentine’s Day was still the only major holiday that had not experienced pandemic style treatment. 

Just last year, couples were making dinner reservations at crowded restaurants, going to the movies, or grabbing takeout. Unfortunately, only one of these plans was the most practical for this year — and that was grabbing takeout.

In Pennsylvania, restaurant occupancy is extremely limited as it is as Governor Tom Wolf has recommended a 75% restriction on a restaurant’s overall occupancy capacity, which made getting reservations almost impossible at certain establishments. For their part, movie theaters are practically a thing of the past as most aren’t even open due to near impracticality of enforcing COVID-19 restrictions in theater settings.

Regardless of how different things were this Valentine’s Day, people still found themselves spending time with their special someone even if it wasn’t in the way that they were expecting.

I experienced these changes first-hand. My boyfriend and I picked up takeout and watched a movie, which is very similar to what we have done in Valentine’s Days past.Still, it was hard not to think of the impact COVID-19 had on our experience. 

The wait time for takeout was significantly longer than it was at this time last year, which was understandable given the restrictions with in-person dining and the increased number of people ordering takeout. Additionally, the waiting area was crowded, which put me on edge and made me want to go home to eat and watch a movie as soon as I could.

When talking to Moravian students, I found out that I was not alone. 

“Eating out is really different with COVID-19 and it’s hard not to notice that,” said Emily Chaves ‘22, who went to a Macaroni Grill with her boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. “Besides that, however, our plans were not affected too much.”

While some students chose not to go out to eat, Sam Hickey ‘23 still noticed differences when she went skiing with her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.

“Even though COVID-19 did not change our plans, we did have to buy the tickets in advance, which is what you always have to do now because of COVID-19,” she said. “Other than that, we always wore ski masks on the mountain. You are just now required to wear it on the lift as well.”

Other students opted for completely remote activities instead, like Victoria Puglisi ‘24, who had a movie night over FaceTime.

Although the pandemic did greatly impact some students’ plans, Valentine’s Day is more about spending quality time with your significant other and showing your appreciation and love for them than it is about what events or activities you do together.

While COVID-19 might have affected some plans in the long-run, it is still important that people found other ways to celebrate the holiday that was comfortable for everyone involved.