Carlin Walsh

Carlin Walsh

I am burned out. I am tired of being told to wear my mask and stand six-feet away from the people whom just months ago I embraced without pause. 

I want to shake someone’s hand. I want my kids to experience a normal childhood. I want to sit and drink a beer at the bar. 

I am tired of the government telling me what to do, when I may or may not open my business, and how I should run my business … I am angry.

If you share in these feelings, I am talking to you, because it is OK you feel this way. 

It is OK to be angry, burned out, and discouraged. It is OK that you are tired of people shaming you because you do not share the same feelings as others. And, it is not OK to shame or blame you for where we are.

This pandemic landed at a most inopportune time: a time of civil unrest amongst those who feel disenfranchised by society’s shifting norms or marginalized by the haves and have-nots. 

This pandemic has only exacerbated these sentiments, but we can begin to correct this.

First, can we all agree on the following? Wearing a mask does not mean you are “a liberal” and feeling angry about our restrictions does not mean you are “a conservative.” 

Wearing a mask simply says you care about others’ wellbeing, and anger over our restrictions means you are human. 

Your feelings that restrictions and mandates infringe on your civil liberties are not fake and we should acknowledge them. 

Similarly, adhering to restrictions and mandates does not mean you blindly throw your caution to the government. 

Second, Chaffee County Public Health is not enforcing restrictions in a vacuum. The threats and general disrespect the County Health Department has received is completely uncalled for – regardless of how you feel.

During the past 10 months, I have sat in more than 100 community roundtable meetings with our public and elected officials, representing our business community as a board member of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation.

The decisions our county officials are making do not come lightly and not without robust discourse. 

Andrea Carlstrom and Greg Felt, have a deep understanding of the impact their decisions have on this community. 

I am indebted to both of them, and every member of the community roundtable group, for all that has been done.  

The time of pleading and begging for compliance with restrictions and mandates is gone. 

We all need to follow the rules. I do not like the restrictions we are under and I hate wearing a mask; I also want to shake Charlie Forster’s hand for his contributions to this community. 

But for now, my feelings and sentiments towards our status and restrictions, need to take a back seat for our community’s greater good.

Please wear a mask when you are out, support our local businesses, and if you feel sick – stay home and watch some quality day-time TV!

Carlin W. Walsh is the owner of Elevation Beer Co. and a board member on the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation.