Life can be difficult right now, and especially emotional due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, support, comfort and love is needed more than ever before, and what better day to express it than Valentine’s Day? 

COVID-19 has put restrictions on many places and events that would typically be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day. Some restaurants do not have their past Valentine’s specials running this year, or accommodating reservations either. 

It can seem difficult to find the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day this year, but people in Athens are getting creative. Though theaters may be closed and fancy reservations limited, enjoying those heartfelt Valentine’s Day traditions are can still be tangible. 

Polly Creech, owner of Hyacinth Bean Florist, 540 W. Union St., has just about everything one would need for Valentine’s Day at her shop.

“We have all different kinds of flowers,” Creech said. “About a hundred different kinds of plants, we have jewelry and chocolates, and stuffed animals.”

As far as gifts go, Hyacinth Bean Florist ensures all needs are met. This Valentine’s Day, the shop is also providing optional no-contact pickup and deliveries for its customers.

“Flowers convey so much emotionally,” Creech said. “They say, ‘I was thinking of you,’ and ‘You’re important to me, and so I bought you flowers so that you would know that.’”

For Valentine’s Day specials, the shop also customizes “Designer’s Choice” floral arrangements for one’s valentine, starting at just $50.

Finding that special holiday gift can be a daunting task, especially on Valentine’s Day. This year, ARTS/West is hosting the first Valentine’s edition of its Prints, Plants and Pots Sale.

ARTS/West offers a variety of handmade printed artwork, ceramics, plants and more, according to its website. Everything it sells is made by local artists and horticulturalists.

The sale is on Feb. 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Feb. 14, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Customers are able find special, handcrafted items to purchase for their Valentine this year. With a limit of seven shoppers in the store at a time, ARTS/West recommends scheduling an appointment to shop. Contact Emily Beveridge to reserve a spot.

Besides flowers and other sentimental gifts, another holiday favorite is sweets. Insomnia Cookies, 27 N. Court St., is offering many Valentine’s Day-themed treats to enjoy; from a Heart Cookie Cake, to DIY Cookie’wich Kits.

Another food deal for the holiday comes from Papa John’s Pizza, 443 E. State St., who is bringing back its heart-shaped pizzas for a limited-time only.

“The one-topping Heart-Shaped Pizza is offered at $11 using promo code VALENTINE,” according to the 11 Best Places to Get Heart Shaped Pizza 2021. “Add delicious brownies to your dinner for $16 using promo code BEMINE.”

Emma Dejonckheere, a freshman at Ohio University, has plans to enjoy the weekend with her friends.

“I’m having a party with my friends,” Dejonckheere said. “Making food, chocolate covered strawberries, eating candy and binge-watching chick flicks.”

In being mindful of the pandemic, and not having much available to do in public this Valentine’s Day, many people have made similar plans to simply stay in and enjoy.

Autumn Koza, a senior studying communications, remains in high spirits about her plans.

“I am going to spend Valentine’s Day with my wonderful girlfriends,” Koza said in a message. “Due to Covid, there will only be a small group of us rather than a big party.”

Madeline Shearer, a freshman studying psychology, has plans to safely get out and enjoy her Valentine’s weekend.

“I’m having a friend come down here from Dublin on Saturday,” Shearer said in a message. “I’m showing him around OU and we’re getting lunch.”

Amid the circumstances, Eric Steere, a freshman studying journalism, has decided to stay in and enjoy the downtime.

“My friends and I usually get together and get a nice dinner just for the fun of it,” Steere said in a message. “But given the state of the world right now, we are deciding against that this year.”

Steere said that the virus has definitely put a damper on his usual plans.

“As of right now, neither me nor my friends have made any plans to do anything for Valentine’s Day,” Steere said in a message. “Just because we know that is the safe thing to do.”