Keeping It Safe With Plenty of Sentiment During a Pandemic

Valentine’s Day will likely look different for most couples this year. With restrictions on gathering in public places and health guidelines that point to home as the safest places to be, many typical romantic outings are not an option this year.

But events experts say you can recreate many of those loving day or evening experiences – wining and dining at a restaurant, watching a movie at the theater or taking in the sounds of the symphony at a performing arts center – from the safety of your home.

Set the Table for Romance

Choose carry-out, order online, request delivery or curbside pickup and eat at home.

“Most restaurants are offering special takeout menus for Valentine’s weekend,” says Barb LaMue, president & CEO of New North, Inc, a Be Safe Wisconsin partner.

One of the many special menus comes from Crossroads Market in Green Lake. The store is offering a Surf & Turf Valentine’s Dinner for Two, which includes sides, dessert and a rose.

Tina Palmer, owner of Red Door Mercantile in downtown Neenah, suggests doing “choice” takeout. “Each family member chooses a favorite restaurant, orders from there and then has fun picking up the food and bringing it back home to enjoy together.” Palmer shares some Valentine’s Day delights with a touch of love on her Facebook page – from gifts to give, to ideas to decorate.

Family Fun with a Loving Spirit

Palmer adds, “Spend the day having fun. No chores. No errands. Do a puzzle. Play games. Enjoy life and time with each other.” Her shop sells family games and unique puzzles in addition to valentine treats.

Watch a Love Story on The Big Screen in the Living Room

Purchase a romantic movie on your Smart TV or laptop and watch from the comfort of your home. Or put your DVD player to good use by checking out a movie from your local library. You could also do a quick pop-in to your Goodwill retail store and training center with a face mask on and social distancing observed. The movie selection is plentiful. Or order online. At the Waupaca location, customers have an eStore with curbside pickup available. Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin is a Be Safe Wisconsin partner.

Take in the Sounds of a Symphony

If a romantic evening at home is music to your ears, check out some ways to bring the symphony to you and your loved one. Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra’s Stay-at-Home performances have a long list of concerts you can click into from its YouTube feed.

Venture Outside, Staying Close to Home

Love is in the air this time of year, so take a walk or build a snowman with a loved one by day.

By night, snuggle up outdoors – whether in your backyard or at a nearby open-space park. Look up to the stars and search for constellations with romantic significance. Stargaze together and discover February’s night sky.

New North also notes Sturgeon Bay’s Fire & Ice Weekend, February 12-13. “It gives families opportunities to be safe outside,” LaMue adds. “Check out the options for a weekend trip with the kids close to home.”  The event includes a family-friendly Friday night Candlelight Ski & Snowshoe excursion. Saturday events include ice carving observations, a Community Snowman Build and a Winter on the Water Fireworks Display with “viewing from cars or at a socially distanced, safe space outdoors.”

Keep your distance while loving on your sweetheart and local businesses. Be Safe Wisconsin Partner Future Neenah has a new COVID-free twist on its annual Warm Your Heart event. Sweet Heart Stroll & Shop in downtown Neenah offers a timed crawl for individually wrapped desserts and sweet treats for pickup in stores midday on Saturday, February 13. For online orders of merchandise, many stores offer curbside pickup for those items throughout the weekend.

“Purchase something special for your sweetheart at our downtown shops while sharing sweet treats together,” said Sara Hanneman, Assistant Executive Director of Future Neenah. “It’s a fun and safe way to support and shop local as well as experience Valentine’s weekend.” Masks are required in businesses and social distancing will be observed inside and outside shops in the downtown district. Participants much register online to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the event.

And why stop the overflow of love Valentine’s weekend? “The spirit of Valentine’s Day should be celebrated for more than just a day,” Palmer states. Here is just one of many of her suggestions: “One family member picks one day each week where they choose their favorite meal, the table is decorated in a fun manner and each person writes a note about that family member to promote love and kindness weekly.”

Don’t we all need a little love as we make it through this pandemic?