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Charlotte businesses prepare for different kind of Valentine's Day amid COVID-19 pandemic

Charlotte businesses are offering a variety of options for people who want to stay at home or enjoy a safe evening out with their special someone.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte businesses are preparing for a different kind of Valentine’s Day weekend amid the pandemic. According to the National Retail Federation, 24% of people surveyed said they will celebrate with an evening out this year, which is down from 34% last year.

Forty-one percent are planning a special dinner or celebration at home.

Benny Pennello’s in NoDa is making giant 28-inch heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day.

"We're taking orders constantly,” Morgan Lewis, general manager at Benny Pennello’s, said. “We've got a list of pre-orders. We've still got plenty of spots left."

It’s one way the pizza restaurant is trying to help people make this Valentine’s Day special amid the pandemic.

"We're expecting it to be busier than normal just because of that with COVID and everything and people not wanting to go out as much,” Lewis said.

The AC Hotel Charlotte SouthPark is catering to those wanting to stay in but not stay at home with a date night staycation package. Guests can take advantage of the special any night over Valentine’s weekend. It includes two cocktails from Cordial, sparkling Rosé and dessert provided in room, and a late checkout of 2 p.m.

"We put together a fun thing in the room to celebrate for couples for New Year’s that went over really well, so that’s what we’re trying to do for Valentine’s Day again,” Amanda Gibbons, operations manager at the AC Hotel Charlotte SouthPark, said. “Just to kind of get away, even if you live a mile up the road, you kind of can still feel like you're celebrating but doing it with the people that you've been kind of quarantining with."

The hotel’s rooftop bar, Cordial, is also hosting a Galentine’s Day brunch and popup market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 13.

Gibbons said the hotel is expecting its busiest weekend since the pandemic began.

"I think for us, it's just a really kind of hopeful sign I guess that things are starting to pick up a little bit, especially as people get vaccinated,” Gibbons added.

Noble Food and Pursuits is providing a variety of options for Valentine’s Day at its businesses.

"We're just trying to help, help you have a great Valentine's Day, whether it's at home or out here visiting us, making people feel extra comfortable,” said Sarah Wrenn, creative director for Noble Food and Pursuits.

Reservations are filling up at Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen for those who want to dine-in. The restaurant is hosting a three-course Valentine’s dinner, with the option to add wine pairings selected by the sommelier.

At Bossy Beulah’s, the restaurant is offering two sandwiches and a bottle of Rosé.

Copain has a curated assortment of Valentine’s sweets treats and dinner and brunch kits for two. The meal-kit options include crab cakes, short ribs, lobster ravioli, brunch, and more. 

“I think people want something special,” Wrenn said. “We're tired of maybe pizza and cooking for ourselves, and this is a way you can have a great, really fine meal at home."