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3 Ways To Celebrate Valentine's Day Safely During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2021 will not look as it has in past years, but that does not mean couples cannot have a memorable - and safe - holiday.Here's just a few options for celebrating with your loved one in Central Illinois this weekend.

Drive in to Goodfield for a romantic meal and a light show

The Barn III Dinner Theatre and Event Center in Goodfield is taking a new and untraditional approach to Valentine’s Day because of the pandemic.

With some coronavirus restrictions still in place and vaccine supply still limited, the Barn has decided to bring their shows - and meals - to their parking lot with "Parking Light Love Songs" and a "Drive-In Dinner for Two."

Owner Abby Reel says this is the Barn’s way of saying that if the normal stage lights are shut off, they'll find another way to entertain audiences.

"We just wanted to reconnect with our customers, and know that once we're back open again, they didn't forget how fun the Barn is," Reel said. "So it's really just been our way to communicate that."

Shows start at 6 p.m. and run every half hour until 9 p.m. "Parking Lot Love Songs" will be open through the month of February, while "Drive In Dinner for Two" is a Valentine's weekend-only opportunity.

The light show is free of admission, but donations to the Barn III can be given online or in person.

Head to the Heights to pick out the perfect flower

Daniel Callahan, owner of Gregg Florist in Peoria Heights, says personal connections with his customers are important in finding the right flower for a loved one.

"Personal connections helps us sometimes guide people," he said. "Someone comes into the store, it gives us a chance to talk to them about the intended recipient's taste, or special things that they like."

Callahan is recommending sunflowers this year. He says the cheerful flower is perfect for these cold winter days, along with lilies and different types of hydrangeas.

Gregg Florist is also donating $1 to Central Illinois Friends, a nonprofit working in HIV prevention and sexual health, for every bunch of tulips sold this year.

Have a fancy Valentine's meal to-go, or a safely distanced meal inside

Couples can now dine in at many local restaurants under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, with the appropriate social distancing and safety protocols in place.

Peoria's Hacienda El Mirador is taking reservations for Valentine’s Day.

"We've had a really long year, and things are starting to open back up," said Executive Chef Nicholas Stoffel. "Now's a great time to come out with your loved one and get some really awesome food and relax. You know, not in your house. I think that'll be the best part about the whole thing."

Stoffel is preparing a gourmet Valentine's menu of tomahawk steak with chocolate raspberry sauce, vegan enchiladas, chocolate rum tres leches, and more for couples.

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