As we approach a full year of shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us feel that we have mastered spending holidays outside or over Zoom. Valentine’s Day this year will be no different.
So, how can Ithaca College celebrate this romantic holiday and still be COVID-safe? Masks Are Hot IC, a student-run public health campaign focused on dating during the pandemic, has plenty of suggestions.
As part of Ithaca College’s Return to Campus guidelines, students should not be within close contact (within 6 feet of distance for more than 10 minutes of cumulative time within a 24-hour period) of anyone who’s not a roommate. On top of that, the CDC has advised against indoor dining. These guidelines are in place to reduce the possibility of having to be placed into quarantine should someone you have been physically close to for that period of time becomes a positive case. This means that students looking to spend some quality time with their significant others or friends this Valentine’s Day need to get creative.
Masks Are Hot knows that it can be difficult to find alternatives to the classic dating scene, especially without the option of going to dinner on the Commons. Here are three ways to celebrate romance and connect with a special someone or friends without breaking any guidelines or endangering our community. Yes, these suggestions may seem a little out of the ordinary, but we are in a situation that has truly shifted the ordinary. Keep an open mind.
Order takeout from your favorite restaurant and Zoom or FaceTime: Refer to our Instagram post with the best takeout options in Ithaca (@masksarehotic on Instagram), take your pick and enjoy. The food will be so good and conversation will flow so well that you will forget the weirdness of these circumstances.
Have a movie/show night: Run to Mac’s, grab your favorite movie treats, get cozy and screen share a good film from the comfort of your home. We recommend "Palm Springs," "King of Staten Island," or "Call Me By Your Name;" or binge a show like "Euphoria."
Bundle up and take a romantic nature walk: Connect with your person while taking in the beauty of the magnificent gorges and falls nearby. This is a great way to connect in person, but make sure you wear a mask and keep a safe 6 feet apart.
If you’re still stuck on ways to celebrate, Masks Are Hot has got you covered. Thanks to the support of Public Safety, here are a few ways we’re celebrating love this Valentine’s Day.
Roses at your doorstep: Masks Are Hot is holding a free flower delivery campaign leading up to Valentine’s Day. We’re helping people send their SO or bestie a flower with a fun coronavirus-themed pun, for example: Is Heaven your quarantine location? Because you’re an angel.
A sweet giveaway: Followers submitted virtual date ideas and followed @masksarehotic on Instagram and we chose a lucky contestant to win a box of chocolates and a bouquet.
More information on all of these activities and more can be found on our Instagram page @masksarehotic.
We all could use a day to celebrate love this year, but it’s not the right time to forget all the things we all should be doing to stay safe. There are so many ways to connect to one another. There is really no excuse to take unnecessary risks.
Masks Are Hot is here for you with anything COVID and dating related. Send us an Instagram DM with any questions, suggestions or concerns. We are so excited to be on campus and can’t wait to celebrate such a fun holiday here in Ithaca.
Stay safe and remember: COVID ain’t cute!
Rachel Kaiser ‘23
Co-Founder of Masks Are Hot IC