Like Christmas, April 26 seemed like it never would arrive. That’s the day Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order is set to expire.


It’s been about a month ― an extremely long month ― since the statewide order went into effect. And we know just about everyone in Colorado is excited about the prospects of their lives getting back to normal.


Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.


Don’t expect all businesses to reopen Monday. Some may. Others will reopen at later dates, provided they are able to put into place safety measures intended to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


It’s going to be a while before we get back to the point where we were before all this happened. If we ever do.


The new “normal” might not look exactly like the old “normal” did. And we shouldn’t be trying to make it so just yet.


By allowing the order to expire, Polis wasn’t suggesting that people should rush out to celebrate with games of Twister or “spin the bottle.” Quite the opposite, he’s urging people to follow the same rules about social distancing that they were supposed to be following while the order was in effect.


That means staying at home, except to conduct “essential” business. And wearing masks or other protective face coverings when venturing out. And keeping at least six feet of distance between ourselves and others when we do venture out.


Polis doesn’t believe that the danger posed by the virus has passed. Neither should you.


However, he recognized the political and practical difficulties of keeping the state on a government-ordered lockdown for an extended period of time. As Americans, we place a high value on our personal freedoms. That’s one thing that separates us from places like Iran, China or any number of other countries that are under authoritarian rule.


What Polis seems to be saying is that while the danger still exists, we need to rely on a sense of personal responsibility to do the right things rather than being required to follow orders.


Some of us are better at this than others. While the order has been in place, some of us haven’t done a great job of social distancing.


We understand that it’s frustrating to live under these conditions. We’re not used to wearing face coverings every time we go out in public. And it can be difficult to stay at least six feet away from everyone else when we’re out shopping.


It’s unfortunate that some people have chosen to politicize this issue. They’ve accused people who support precautionary restrictions of exaggerating the dangers of COVID-19 to advance their own agendas, apparently ignoring the millions of people who have become sick and the tens of thousands who have died worldwide as a result of the virus.


The thing is, this virus doesn’t care about anyone’s political views or whether they believe they have a constitutional right to get haircuts. The virus will try to infect as many people as it possibly can. Some of those who become infected will die, while others will have long-lasting health problems as a result.


So we should keep following the social distancing rules, not because we have to, but because we should. For the sake of others as well as ourselves.


We’ll start the new work week without a government mandate hanging over our heads. That just means it’s up to all of us as individuals to take care of each other. Which is the way it should be, anyway.