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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans learned Wednesday that they will be spending even more time apart.

Friday, April 10 was supposed to be the final day of the state’s stay-at-home order. But Gov. Tim Walz extended it through May 4. The extension also applies to schools and businesses that were supposed to reopen on May 1.

Walz made it clear: Social distancing is working. He said early on we were doubling our cases every two to two-and-half days. Now it takes eight days to double our numbers. The message from the state is that Minnesotans are overachieving — and they need to keep it that way.

Walz was emphatic in his decision to extend the order.

“We cannot rest easy,” Walz said. “This thing can explode overnight if we don’t take precautions.”

READ MORE: Walz Signs Bill To Protect First Responders, Workers On COVID-19 Front Lines

He pointed to modeling that shows Minnesota cases could surge between mid-May to mid-July. That continuing the serious social distancing now gives the state time to get 3,000 ICU beds ready by the earliest projected peak. Currently, the state’s capacity is at 1,000. And it gives life-saving ventilators on back order time to get here.

WCCO asked viewers to weigh in on nearly another month of staying at home. Some on social media are frustrated, while others – like Meredith Nordin of Lakeville — are grateful for the leadership.

“I think it would be ridiculous to open us up too soon where we haven’t flattened the curve enough and we’d have to shut down again,” Nordin said.

And while responses most were serious, humor is always welcome.

“I’ve read books, I’ve finished puzzles, I’ve power washed all the outdoor furniture, taken walks with my wife, all the Girl Scout cookies are gone. I need sports,” Prior Lake resident Jim Clark said.

The state will work with some businesses not considered essential during the first wave to reopen with the same strict social distancing guidelines. Golf courses can mow, and lawn care companies can get back to work just before midnight on Wednesday.

“Do not get complacent,” Walz said “Do not give up all the hard-earned gains that you made.”

State leaders were asked if residents should cancel Fourth of July celebrations and cabin time. They didn’t go that far, but did say people need to be smart, and it’s not going to be a typical summer. Right now, social distancing is our biggest weapon in the fight against the pandemic.

Jennifer Mayerle

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