By Tim Wieland

DENVER (CBS4) – “To the extent that there’s been a party the last week or two, the party has to end.” Gov. Jared Polis said those words this week, as he issued a statewide mandate requiring all of us in Colorado to wear a mask. Here at CBS4, we’ve been wearing face coverings for the last four months. As “Captain Party Pooper,” I had recommended face coverings back in early April; two weeks later, it became a requirement.

Tim Wieland

(credit: Tim Wieland)

During these last four months, we have talked to family members grieving over the loss of a loved one to coronavirus, profiled patients who battled the virus for weeks, interviewed health care workers who described the process of putting someone on a ventilator, and reported on employees who have lost jobs and businesses forced to close. It is often heartbreaking work. We don’t want to continue telling these stories. So if the simple act of wearing a mask gets us a step closer to that end, I’m all for it.

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Those of us in the building wear masks unless working alone; field crews wear masks while working together, producing their stories, and interviewing members of the community. We do this for many reasons. So this week, I asked the journalists in our newsroom to share their reasons with you.

KATHY WALSH

Kathy Walsh

(credit: Kathy Walsh)

I wear it because I don’t want anybody getting sick. It’s smart. It’s simple. And where else can an “older American” wear anything Disney Princess and get smiles, not stares!

DOMINIC GARCIA

Dominic Garcia

(credit: Dominic Garcia)

I’m not going to lie, it’s not been easy getting used to wearing a mask. I constantly find myself getting up to do something, only to have to turn around because I realize I forgot my mask. That said, I feel a strong obligation to wear my mask. Not only do I believe it’s in the best interest of public health, but I’ve also come to see it as common courtesy. All of my coworkers have been amazing about wearing their masks, the least I can do is return the favor. I also feel like it’s protected me. I was out in the masses covering the George Floyd protests. I marched with thousands of protestors, interviewed people in close quarters, and had a number of people get in my face. I got tested after several weeks of coverage and it came back negative. While I can’t prove 100% it was because of my mask … do I really want to put that to the test?  That’s why I’ll continue to wear a mask.”

DAVE WILLE

Dave Wille

(credit: Dave Wille)

I’ve been in many high risk situations since the beginning of the pandemic. Social distancing was impossible while covering the recent protests in Denver. Many times the only defense I had against COVID-19 was my mask. I have no doubt the reason I avoided catching the virus was I always wore my mask. Always.

MEKIALAYA WHITE

Mekialaya White

(credit: Mekialaya White)

I wear a mask because it protects you, and it protects me. It protects my parents, my brother, my boyfriend, and his family. It protects our CBS4 family and friends. It exponentially helps our community stay safe and healthy. I wear a mask because we are all in this together and we’ll get through this time together.

DILLON THOMAS

Dillon Thomas

(credit: Dillon Thomas)

I regularly wear a mask to protect my Grandma Stella. Every day I interact with strangers. While she doesn’t come to work with me, after work she often relies on me to take care of her lawn, housework, shopping and more. I wear a mask so myself, and others, can still be there for those we love.

EDDIE CASTRO

Eddie Castro

(credit: Eddie Castro)

I wear a mask to protect myself, my coworkers and most important my family. My family and I are taking all precautions seriously including masks, washing hands and social distancing.”

KELLY WERTHMANN

Kelly Werthmann

(credit: Kelly Werthmann)

I wear a mask while on the job because I care … I care about my health, I care about my colleagues. Whether or not the cloth covering may truly be a layer of protection, it is definitely a simple sign of respect. Sure, it’s uncomfortable at times and it always rubs off the makeup I just put on for air … but those small annoyances are nothing compared to the greater goal of keeping each other safe & stopping the deadly virus.”

MICHAEL ABEYTA

Michael Abeyta

(credit: Michael Abeyta)

There’s a lot about this disease we don’t know. The only thing we do know is that for some, the end result is tragedy. I absolutely understand how uncomfortable wearing a mask can be, however I couldn’t live with myself knowing my selfishness brought upon grief and hardship for another. I believe we are supposed to take care of each other and if I have to temporarily suspend my rights and privileges to possibly save a life, (even if the decision ultimately turns out to have been in folly) making the decision to mask up is a no brainer.”

JEFF TODD

Jeff Todd does an interview. (credit: CBS)

My wife is due with our son in six weeks. As we get closer to the due date I get even more worried about the virus. I have a variety of masks and face coverings for the different situations this job puts me in on a day-to-day basis. They’re the best tool I have to keep my family safe.”

ALAN GIONET

Alan Gionet

(credit: Alan Gionet)

I’ve had probably more conversations with experts about transmission and the way the novel coronavirus replicates than just about anyone. Masks are the best protection we have right now. When people talk about the survivability rate for COVID-19, you have to remember, that’s because more people are wearing masks and treatments are improving. Viral dose is very, very crucial and a mask will lower that dose. I don’t want to hurt anyone. This is a vicious disease that I don’t wish on anybody — and don’t want myself and we are frequently meeting new people.

MARK NEITRO

Mark Neitro

(credit: Mark Neitro)

It’s hard to breathe and it’s not comfortable, but I wear a mask for many reasons. I wear it to protect myself, my family and the older neighbors next door that we help out. I also wear one to prevent the possible spread of the disease to the single reporter I’m assigned to everyday during the pandemic.

RICK SALLINGER

Rick Sallinger

Rick Sallinger, right, with CBS4 Chief Photographer Kevin Hartfield (credit: Rick Sallinger)

I wear a mask because to do my job effectively it often requires being in closer proximity to individuals and crowds than recommended. It is for my protection and the protection of all others. When wearing a mask while on the air I close out my reports pointing to my mask saying “covering” Colorado first as a reminder to others.

CHRIS SPEARS

Chris Spears

(credit: Chris Spears)

I wear my mask at work because I feel it’s the responsible thing to do, not only to protect me, but also you. In addition I don’t want to see our economy shut down again like it was in March and April.  You know how when you fly and the pilot turns the seatbelt light off, but still advises to wear it in case of unexpected turbulence? The mask is the same thing. You know the chance of something bad happening is super small but at the same time you want to be protected if it does.

MARGARET DEMARCO

Margaret DeMarco

(credit: Margaret DeMarco)

As a journalist, I see what is going on with the pandemic every day. I choose to wear a mask out of respect for my coworkers and for other people I interact with in public. The most important reason I wear a mask is to keep my family safe. The reality of the virus hit home when my one year old was tested last week. Thankfully the test came back negative in less than 12 hours. Though if the test was positive, I would have spread the virus to anyone I interacted with at work and the store. In the end this is why I wear a mask.

RAETTA HOLDMAN

Raetta Holdman

(credit: Raetta Holdman)

Producers spend a lot of time going back and forth from the newsroom to the control room so a mask means we can keep our colleagues not only in the newsroom, but also engineering and production, safe. For me, it’s become increasingly important as my son has attended a number of marches and rallies. (It’s actually the only time he leaves the house!) I want to make sure I can protect those around me because I care.

KATI WEIS

Kati Weis

(credit: Kati Weis)

I’ve been wearing a mask in public since the CDC updated its guidelines near the start of the pandemic. It’s important for me to wear a mask, because I know how critical it is to protect others. Many of my loved ones, including my parents, are older, and are in the “at-risk” category. While they’re out in public, grocery shopping, whatever, I hope others around them are wearing masks to reduce the likelihood of spreading this deadly virus to my sweet parents. Similarly, when I’m out in public, I’m sure I’m coming in to contact with other people’s loved ones who need to be protected too. Just as I hope others are looking out for my parents down in Alabama, I’m doing my part to protect someone’s parents here in Colorado. Pay it forward, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

JAIMIE GOLDSTEIN

Jaimie Goldstein

(credit: Jaimie Goldstein)

I wear a mask at work because I feel like I’m protecting my coworkers. I would feel awful if I somehow brought the virus into the newsroom and gave it to a colleague. Knowing what we do now about being indoors and how it spreads more that way, I feel like it’s my duty to cover myself and keep others around me safe. I also wear it because I feel safer around others. We work so close together and share work spaces, that without a mask I wouldn’t feel safe.

LISA KOHLBRENNER

Lisa Kohlbrenner

(credit: Lisa Kohlbrenner)

I wear my mask because it’s the right thing to do to help flatten the curve.

STEVE VRIESMAN

Steve Vriesman

(credit: Steve Vriesman)

Something as simple as wearing a mask at work will help protect spreading the virus to coworkers, myself and to my family. This has the potential to be an awful disease and wearing a mask is a little price to pay for protecting each other.

Tim Wieland

Comments (5)
  1. Jay says:

    Because you are a sheep and supporting the agenda is why. Feel free to wear your’s all you want, that is your right but I will never wear one and that is also mine.

  2. Jay Alenby says:

    Thank you for wearing masks. It is the civilized thing to do.

    1. Rather than wear masks when they are not recommended, it would make more sense for newscasters to be seen donning and doffing them appropriately.

    2. Joe Bloe says:

      Poor thing….. you should continue to lay on your back like a puppy dog and let your dear government take away your civil liberties.

  3. Wearing masks in the open air sends the wrong message about their proper use. You can’t take back all the misreporting which has led many to suppose that the government is trying to require people to wear masks when they step outside their doors. Governor Polis may finally have realized the appropriate way to communicate about wearing masks (i.e. by telling us to wear them indoors among strangers), but the issue has been badly confused and politicized. We should focus on getting people to wear masks where they are most likely to do some good — in public, indoor spaces — and let people know they can doff their masks as soon as they leave them.

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