Make Valentine’s Day as special as it can be during COVID-19

Lexi Langendorf, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Roses are red, violets are blue… 2021 is here, but COVID-19 is too.

Last Valentine’s Day, much of America was going out to dinner, seeing the newest movie in theaters, and gathering in groups.

Evidently, since COVID-19 became a threat in early 2020, it immediately put quite a damper on the year’s holidays and festivities.

However, safety precautions and mask mandates don’t have to take the love and romance out of Valentine’s Day.

Whether you choose to spend it alone, with your significant other, with family, with your girls or the bros, here are a few quarantine-friendly date ideas for Valentine’s Day 2021.

If you’re looking to have a fine-dining experience, check out Fox River Brewing Company’s “River Domes”, which seat up to eight COVID-cautious friends for 90 minutes.

Heated “river domes” at Fox River Brewing Co. must be reserved in advance. You can reserve them for up to eight people for 90 minutes.

This private seating option allows you to enjoy a meal or some drinks inside a clear, heated dome with a riverside view.

To see more information about reservations and food and beverage minimums, you can visit their website.

If dining in isn’t your style, pick up a heart-shaped pizza for you and your lover or friend group.

This year, both Pizza Hut and Papa John’s will be offering heart-shaped pizzas for under $15.

Otherwise, there are plenty of recipe options to try out on the 14th. Search the web for a simple pasta or steak recipe and make a date out of it.
Looking for other activities outside of a meal? There are plenty of those too.

Oshkosh has just put in a lighted ice-skating rink at Roe Park in Downtown Oshkosh. Anyone can come and use the facility anytime between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m daily.

Better yet, on weekends, you can use skates for free from 3 to 7 p.m., thanks to Dr. Eric’s Skate Club.

If you’d rather, you can bundle up and take a brisk walk along the Fox River or work out at the Student Rec instead.

For the simpler homebodies, there are some great dates and experiences you can access with just a laptop.

Award-winning vocalist Kate Voss and guitarist Jason Goessl will be hosting “A Very Vintage Valentine’s Weekend” that can be streamed to your home for free from The Grand Oshkosh stage.

The performances will be available Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. through Feb. 14 at 11:59 p.m. and registration can be accessed on The Grand Oshkosh website.

If you’re not a music person, Stellarium Web offers a free virtual stargazing experience that would make for a fun and unique date night experience.

On the website, you can enter your location and see the stars and constellations as they appear in your area.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History also offers a free virtual experience, which allows site visitors to explore the museum’s many exhibits in a quarantine-friendly setting.

Or instead, keep it simple and pick out your favorite board game or find a deck of cards.

Otherwise, head to Netflix or Hulu and find a highly-rated movie or series to binge-watch.

If you’re a sports person, the Milwaukee Bucks will be playing the Oklahoma City Thunder at 6:00 p.m. this Valentine’s Day.

To end the night, spoil yourself or the people you love with some dessert. Go get ice cream or stay cozy at home with some hot chocolate or chocolate dipped strawberries.

Throughout your festivities on Sunday, remember to prioritize your own health as well as others’ safety.

Do this by making sure you’re spending the day with others who have been following guidelines, addressing safety concerns with your date beforehand, and avoiding crowds.

Have a safe and wonderful Valentine’s Day!