According to Morris, it's more than likely some kind of particle preventing it from opening and closing, and the idea is to gently remove the particles from the lens barrel. I have a feeling it was because I carelessly had been lugging it around in my purse and tote bag, which is not a good thing and won't happen again.
She has a list of four things to try to dislodge whatever might be preventing it from opening or closing, or both.
•1 Blow canned air around the perimeter of the lens to dislodge the particles.
•2 Turn a hair dryer on to its no-heat setting, and direct the air current over the barrel and lens of the camera. If canned air does not work, the stronger current of air from the hair dryer may.
•3 Force a thin strip of paper under the crack between the closed lens sections. Force the lens open using gentle pressure. Work the piece of paper around the edges of the lens for 360 degrees.
•4 Extend the barrel of the lens. Point the lens downward and gently tap the barrel with the eraser of a pencil.
•5 Repeat all steps at least three times. If this does not free the lens, you may have to send it to the manufacturer for repair.
I tried the hair dryer and nothing. I tried tapping and nothing. I finally grabbed a piece of thick paper (like the thickness of a stiff business card) gently inserted it into the section of the lens cover that was not working and out it popped.
Thank you Tracy for your advice. It saved me from either having to dish out a chunk of change for a new replacement camera or sending it off to the Canon repair facilities.
You have to love google!