MINNEAPOLIS — For two weeks Minnesotans have stayed home. They're just now starting to get used to a new kind of life, during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Lots of walking around the lakes, puzzles, binge watching on Netflix, some Hulu," one walker said.
"I'm having happy hour with friends, virtually, online you know?" another woman said near Lake Nokomis. "I've been cooking a bit more, doing some recipes."
Folks like Avery Davis said the order is what it is. He was quick to say "we've got to do what we have to do, if that's going to keep us safe."
All that work that Minnesotans have put in the last two weeks has paid off, according to Governor Tim Walz. In a news briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Walz said the curve seems to be flattening at this point.
"What I asked you to do, Minnesota, in a spectacular Minnesota manner, was to buy us time, by social distancing," Walz said.
He said by extending the stay-at-home order to until May 4th, it ensures the state has even more time to prepare to gather necessary supplies before the anticipated coronavirus peak.
"The message today is stay home, continue this," Walz said. "We bought the time we needed. We're getting close to doing what we accomplished and needed - capacity of hospitals, capacity of ventilators, capacity of PPE and keeping our first responders safe and their families taken care of. Again I would caution you, it can all go sideways if we don't continue."
As for the growing list of questions on whether certain businesses can return as long as social distancing is respected, Walz made some changes on Wednesday by including lawn care and landscaping workers as well as golf course maintenance to the list of businesses that can resume. The changes take effect Wednesday evening at 11:59 p.m.
Walz added that he expects that list to cautiously grow over the next few weeks and months but he said he is going to leave that up to different commissioners to assess each business on a case-by-case basis.
While staying home isn't easy, Minnesotans are complying. Some did so happily and even with a sense of optimism.
"Rahm Emanuel said it and I liked it, 'crisis reveals character right?'" John Kelly said. Kelly was taking a lunchtime bike ride around Lake Nokomis on Wednesday. "So who you are when it's tough is who you are. If you are someone who is good, then be someone who is good when it's hard. Otherwise, what does it matter? So you know, gotta stay positive."
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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There is also a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.