How Manitobans are celebrating Valentine’s Day amid COVID-19

WINNIPEG — Sunday is Valentine’s Day, and with love in the air, Winnipeg couples are looking for ways to celebrate the day.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, options are limited, but some sectors are being creative to bring in business over the holiday.

At the Fort Garry Hotel, it’s been difficult to fill the rooms with guests due to travel restrictions, but the hotel found a way to bring in locals for a romantic staycation.

“We created our romance package, which allows guests to come in and have a night at the hotel,” said Jordan Lanthier, Director of Sales for the hotel. “We put in chocolate-dipped strawberries, wine in the room, so it’s allowing them to be socially distanced and safe.”

Lanthier said there was an uptick in business over New Years’, but overall the hotel has seen a drop in guests over the last year.

He said the romance package gave a temporary boost to business.

“It’s nice to see 70, 80, 100 rooms (booked). I think if you talk to all the hotels, they would feel the same way. After this, it’ll get very quiet again and we’re talking single-digit number of rooms.”

In the Fort Rouge area, love birds are flocking to Osborne Florist to find that perfect arrangement for their significant other.

Owner Oriana Marinelli said her Valentine’s Day sales have surpassed what she would normally do; she attributes the increase to Winnipeggers shopping local and restaurants not being able to open at full capacity.

“Because of COVID, it’s making us reach out and realize that our dollars can have a say, and they make a difference for people who have small businesses,” said Marinelli.

For couples that want a quiet night at home, Date Night Delivered brings a package to your door with everything you need for a Valentine’s Day date in the comfort of your own home.

Creator Megan Parsons said she started the business three months ago, but sales took off in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s.

“We had a sellout limit, and we actually raised it because we just saw even before we closed orders there was so much demand for these date boxes.”

Parsons ships her boxes anywhere in Canada and hopes to keep this momentum.

Lanthier said the hotel is using the slow periods to renovate so they can be set up for success when business is back to normal.

“(We want to make sure) when COVID does end, we get the vaccines out there and we are allowed to have travel again, that we’re ready for our guests and to welcome them back to the property.”

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