Well, it’s official now. We’ve all been grounded.

Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order Wednesday afternoon, which means pretty much what it says. Unless you work for an "essential" business, need to seek health care or have to buy food or other necessities, you should be staying at home.

There are exceptions, of course. The governor hasn’t banned you from taking Fido for a walk. Or, for that matter, taking yourself for a walk, if you want to enjoy the spectacular spring weather we have been having the last few days.

What we’re not supposed to be doing is gathering together in groups outside of our homes. Which apparently has been a problem in some parts of our state, maybe even here in Pueblo.

Some people have treated the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity for extended vacations, packing parks and other recreational areas. While keeping healthy is important, particularly if we’re living under these conditions for an extended period of time, there are other ways to get exercise besides playing pickup basketball games at the Elizabeth Street slabs or participating in other team sports.

All of which should have been painfully obvious for at least the past week or so, if not longer. The key to defeating this virus is slowing its spread as much as possible. And the best way to do that is for us to keep our distance from each other for a while.

Local officials were hoping to avoid a mandatory stay-at-home order. In fact, they were calling for voluntary compliance with social distancing guidelines as a way to avoid that step just hours before the governor made his announcement.

As a practical matter, it’s difficult to imagine how this requirement will be enforced. We’re not expecting police to go around like chaperones at a junior high school dance in the old days, measuring the distances between people. At least we hope it won’t come to that.

We’re hoping people here in Pueblo and elsewhere will use some common sense and act in our own self interests, even if it involves some inconveniences and sacrifices in the short term.

Let’s face it: As far as responses to calamities go, this is a pretty easy one to handle. We aren’t being asked to send our children off to fight in some war. We’re not being asked to hunker in underground shelters for fear of bombs or natural disasters. We aren’t even being asked to cut off all interaction with the outside world.

We’re just being asked to give each other some space. And this is a challenge we’re better prepared to handle than at any other time in human history.

Technology makes it possible to order many of the goods and services we need online. Restaurants are adapting to our new reality by expanding their carryout and delivery options. And thanks to smart phones and other electronic devices, we can share our deepest (and shallowest) thoughts with friends and family almost instantaneously.

Maybe there will be some long-term benefits when this crisis has passed. Maybe some of us will spend less time walking around with our faces buried in our phones and more time interacting with the people we see around us.

For now, though, it makes sense to limit those interactions and keep the ones we do have at more than an arm’s length distance. Specifically, six feet or more.

This isn’t an impossible task. We can do this.