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COVID Cannot Stop Love: Couples Renew Vows In Times Square, Eat Inside On Valentine's Day

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Sunday was Valentine's Day, love was in the air and the coronavirus pandemic did not stop celebrations.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner was in Times Square, where 12 couples renewed their vows while socially distanced.

It's an annual tradition that usually draws around 300 couples.

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Starting at 11 a.m., West 46th Street and Broadway was the place two couples got engaged, and where another couple had a full-blown wedding, all live-streamed for the world to see.

For Denise and Robert Marte, they actually were married 12 years ago in front of a judge, but they didn't take one photo. So, they always wanted to have the flashy, big ceremony. After all, they met in Times Square.

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Rozner spoke to them and one of the newly engaged couples.

"We met in a bar in the city, so it's funny that we're back here. It has come full circle," Denise Marte said. "It's very nice. We had a rough 2020, so it couldn't have happened at a better time."

"Most important place for me in the U.S. You build the magic. You build the emotions. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you have," newly engaged David Murcia said.

"I'm so happy. He didn't tell me anything. Just surprise," a newly engaged woman said.

And another gift for couples who are looking to dine in New York City, this weekend restaurant capacity was increased to 25%, and on Sunday night they were allowed to stay open one hour later, until 11 p.m.

Walking back into Bice Cucina on West 55th Street was like igniting an old flame on Valentine's Day. Couples were reminded what it's like to enjoy a meal without your coat on.

"It's nice to be warm and not eat outside, where your feet are freezing and you gotta have your jacket on, you spill food on your coat," Murray Hill resident Kevin Yazell said.

"We are having a beautiful meal in a beautiful restaurant, enjoying each other. It just feels like the old days," resident Sheryl Sprigler added.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced restaurants could begin offering indoor dining on Friday.

Bice Cucina co-owner Peter Guimaraes was serving ups "Cuomopolitans" in his honor -- it includes a mix of Bailey's and Khalua.

"Twenty five percent is still not a lot. Most of these restaurants cannot survive off of it, but it gives us a little bit of breathing room because a lot of people don't want to eat outside," Guimaraes said.

With the one hour later curfew of 11 p.m. Guimaraes was able to book more reservations, estimating 80% of the calls came in after the governor's announcement.

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