Last year, Prishita Jasani spent Valentine’s Day with her partner, sharing dinner and dessert at two different restaurants.
Today, Jasani, a sophomore biology major, and her partner will still celebrate the holiday together, but from their couch.
“We’re probably just gonna get takeout food,” Jasani said. “He has an activity planned but I think it’s very lowkey and, I don’t know we’re just gonna exchange gifts and stuff.”
Students are adapting their plans for Valentine’s Day today as the COVID-19 pandemic has limited traditional ways to celebrate the holiday. They’ve moved their romantic dinners from restaurants to their homes, postponed plans for in-person meetups with their partners or decided to spend the night watching movies with their roommates.
From a public health perspective, the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is by spending time with people in your immediate household, said Aimee Palumbo, an epidemiology and biostatistics professor.
“Valentine’s Day is often a small celebration right, with a significant other,” Palumbo said. “If two people are already seeing each other, you know, intimately, then the safest way is to just kind of see each other at home and celebrate in the comfort of your home.”
Palumbo suggested staying away from indoor dining and medium-to-large gatherings with those outside of one’s household.
“It’s really cold outside, so there aren’t a lot of outdoor dining options,” she said. “If you want food from a restaurant, you know, order it and stay inside.”
Those who are single should spend Valentine’s Day with their roommates or others within their close circle, Palumbo added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people celebrate Valentine’s Day virtually, outdoors with a walk or picnic or by staying home with members of their immediate household.
There are currently 114,000 cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia, the New York Times reported.
As of Feb. 11, there are 106 active cases of COVID-19 between students and employees at Temple University, The Temple News reported.
Between city restrictions on indoor dining and wanting to save money, Diya Patel, a sophomore health professions major, is staying in with her partner for Valentine’s Day this year.
“Me and my boyfriend have plans to kind of just like stay in and like, cook a fun meal and just do cute things together in our apartment,” Patel said.
Patel is using today as an opportunity to try a roasted tomatoes and feta cheese recipe from TikTok, a video creation app, she added.
Cat Olson usually spends every Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend, but for the first time in five years, they’re not doing anything today to celebrate.
Between recommendations from public health officials to avoid travel and conflicting work schedules, Olson, a senior biology major, and her partner are postponing their celebration until later in the month, Olson said.
“It sucks to not be able to spend like the one day a year you’re supposed to spend with your significant other, with him,” Olson said.
Shane Murphy, a senior criminal justice major, doesn’t have concrete plans for Valentine’s Day this year but might try to meet people on dating apps.
“I’m gonna try my luck with a couple people I’ve been talking to, but as of right now, I have nothing,” Murphy said. “A lot of people are hesitant about going out and about.”
With many restaurants closed or offering limited indoor seating, it’s also a struggle to secure a table for Valentine’s Day, Murphy said.
Taden Thurber, a senior film and media arts major and member of Temple’s gymnastics team, is staying inside with his roommates this year so he can continue going to the gym for practices, he said.
“Probably end up just making dinner with my roommates, just at home, just hanging out with them,” Thurber said. “That’s about it.”
Sarah Rowley, a senior painting major, is still trying to find a safe way to celebrate the holiday with her partner, who wanted to go out to a restaurant.
“It’s really challenging to find something to do outside,” said Rowley. “Usually when I think about going on a date, I think about going to a restaurant or going to a museum but that’s not really, you know, an option now.”
Safe activities outside of the house are difficult to find during the winter, and making these activities special during COVID-19 can be even harder, she added.
Faustina Nguyen, a senior psychology major, is still working on finding a safe celebration with her partner, but is going to treat it “like another date” because it’s difficult to find safe activities, she said.
“We wanted to go out to dinner but we still aren’t sure about that,” Nguyen added. “We might just do a little picnic, my partner and I.”
Toby Warren, a senior biochemistry major, plans to go to a restaurant to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend this year. This requires more planning ahead than an average year because he wants to make sure restaurants are open and not overcrowded, he said.
“I’ve been to a few outdoor dining places and a few indoor since COVID’s happened,” Warren said. “I’m comfortable with going to an indoor dining place and so is she, so that’s what we’re gonna do.”