Celebrating Valentine’s Day during a pandemic

Students share plans, health experts share advice


Illustration made on Canva by Camille Jessie

Tie-dying shirts, painting and watching a movie are the activities Myrka Ahumada, a studio arts major, plans on doing alongside her significant other this Valentine’s Day. This Valentine’s Day weekend, Cal State LA couples like Ahumada and her partner are making plans while keeping the dangers of COVID-19 in mind. 

A typical date for Ahumada and her partner usually involved going out to a new restaurant, followed by a fun activity like going to an arcade. This isn’t their first Valentine’s together as a couple and they plan to stay safe by wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and being outside. 

Even with outdoor dining now open, Ahumada and her significant other don’t want to put themselves at risk.  

The pandemic has affected their relationship since they aren’t able to show affection toward each other, but they are still finding ways to stay connected.  

“We usually have long talks on the phone or play video games together,” said Ahumada. “We make sure throughout the day that we are emotionally, mentally, and physically good.”

Lynette Zazueta, an exercise science major, and her significant other plan on getting takeout from Olive Garden while social distancing from each other to avoid exposing themselves and their families. 

After celebrating Valentine’s Day with her significant other for five years now, Zazueta finds this year to be more difficult to plan because of the pandemic. 

“Our Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly the same, however, I think that the specialness doesn’t change for us. We’ve been figuring out a way to keep our Valentine’s Day the same as always and it hasn’t been the easiest,” added Zazueta. 

Zazueta and her significant other would usually go out to dinner after a day at the mall, but this year they have no intentions of putting their families at risk. 

Biochem major Ericka Pelaez remembers her first Valentine’s Day with her significant other in 2017, when they ate at an Italian restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles and then went to a museum. 

Now, Pelaez will be having dinner and social distancing with her significant other at her place. Putting the negative impacts of the pandemic aside, Pelaez thinks this pandemic has made her relationship stronger. 

“It made my relationship closer since we realized we don’t need fancy dinners in the end. Having each other’s presence is enough,” added Pelaez. 

For other couples wanting to safely plan their Valentine’s Day this year, the Cal State LA Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) has offered some solutions in an Instagram live on how to celebrate a night of love. 

A great low-risk activity for a relationship can include a Zoom meeting or FaceTime call with your significant other. Dates like online gaming, ordering takeout together, or streaming a movie can be fun while staying safe.

Practicing communication to build a healthy relationship with your significant other can help create boundaries. This can include having a COVID talk with your significant other to understand the risk of exposure in their daily life.  

Asking your significant other to get a COVID-19 test before meeting with them can also be implemented into the relationship. Keeping in mind how high the cases are in your area, who you are exposed to and considering how risky the activity you plan on doing can also help you stay safe.

SHAC also suggests an activity for couples can be creating a “love list.” In this activity, each partner writes down what they want in the relationship. This list can also include what each partner is comfortable doing during a pandemic. Students who are not in a relationship can participate in the activity by writing down the qualities they would like to see practiced in their future relationships.