Kelly Thorell ‘21, Opinion Editor
Valentine’s Day during a pandemic—not ideal. Awkward first dates inside restaurants or cliché ones in movie theaters are less ideal with the threats of infection. Pandemic dating has been extremely difficult, even for veteran couples such as seniors Noah Clemens and Melanie Hesterman. Hestermen said, “COVID has made it harder for Noah and I to go out and do activities such as going to Sky Zone and movie theaters,” demonstrating the added frustration of maintaining a relationship throughout the pandemic.
But with an added dose of safety precautions and creativity, a date can still occur this Feb. 14. Where exactly can you take your special valentine this holiday? Well, here are some safe date ideas for you and your significant other:
1. Dining in mittens:
Even with the state-mandated closing of all indoor dining, small businesses have found ways for their businesses to prevail by implementing safety precautions and changes to their typical services. Many restaurants have adapted by creating outdoor dining spaces. During an outdoor dining date, you and your date should dress in your warmest winter apparel: coats, hats, gloves, and maybe even a cozy blanket. Though depending on the restaurant, some have even created their own DIY (do it yourself) “bubbled dining” by creating small outdoor igloos or structures to keep heat in and corona out.
2. Campus Martius ice skating
The dream of ice skating under the gleaming city lights as snow falls can become a reality at Campus Martius ice skating rink. Located in Downtown Detroit, Campus Martius has a beautiful outdoor ice skating rink open for safe skating through mandatory mask wearing and social distancing. On the weekends, the ice rink is even open until midnight, allowing for you and your date to have a romantic night skating under the night stars. After burning off calories from skating, you and your date can enjoy the ample restaurants and bakeries located in the metropolitan area, many of which have outdoor dining available nearby.
3. An (interesting) museum date:
Despite museums known for being boring, a date to the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) certainly will not be be! With their 65,000 pieces of artwork dating from the earliest civilizations to modern 21st century artwork from all around the world, you certainly will not be bored. If this interests you and your date, plan ahead because reservations are required in order to maintain social distancing.
Though, if you and your valentine are more of a history buffs, a trip to the Holocust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills is an educational and sentimental experience. With a small admission fee of $5, you can be educated of the pain of the Holocust victims with historical artifacts such as a real portion of trains used by the Nazis to transport people to concentration camps and preserved gray-striped work outfits once worn by a laboring Jews. Similar to the DIA, a reservation is required to maintain social distancing.
4. DIY Photoshoot:
Smartphone? Check. Partner? Check. Time for a photoshoot. With this date idea, you and your date can have a mini photoshoot inside or in your backyard. Locally, to find some natural background in, there’s parks such as Kensington Metropark and Island Lake State Park. There, you two can take photos of each other or together by using a timer camera. Then, you can post the photos on social media or keep them for memories. This date idea is a very safe option since it will just be you, your date, and nature.
5. Sledding… yes, seriously, sledding:
Even if you are old enough to go out on a date with your valentine, it still does not mean that you are too old to go sledding. At Kensington Metropark in Milford, there are several large sledding hills to enjoy, though a park entry pass is required. For a closer-to-home option, there’s McHattie Park in downtown South Lyon. This date only requires sleds, making it a very cheap option, as well as a safe one since it is outdoors.
Obviously, with the difficult financial situation many Americans are in this year, soup kitchens and homeless shelters have been all the more vital for many people. You can admire your valentine’s giving character as you two volunteer at the Food Gatherers warehouse in Ann Arbor. At Food Gatherers, you two can help collect and organize food into bags for people to pick up as well as grow closer together. You must sign up for a time slot first and show up masked, ready to serve your community.
Whether it be a downtown town ice skating date or igloo dining, make sure to maintain social distancing with other couples and tell your significant other of your appreciation for them, as this pandemic we could all use some kind words.