Last Saturday, Shropshire Council fixed signs around Ludlow town centre promoting Covid-19 social distancing. By Monday, some had been defaced and many had been removed. Others had been covered over with Covid-19 conspiracy messages. Guerrilla signage promoted the “Shropshire Corona Resilience Network” with the message “Fraud Pandemic”.
I think we are all going a bit mad during lockdown. Nothing is madder than stealing scarecrows from Knowbury and planting them at random locations around the area, including The Buttercross. They were a children’s project. That’s where what might have seemed to be a good joke turns sour. [See comments below for a clarification.]
There is considerable confusion over the Covid-19 signs which have banned parking on Events Square. The signs read: “No parking enforcement in operation”. They should have read “No parking. Enforcement in operation”. For want of a stop, a message was lost and parking fines were issued.
We do not know who was responsible for defacing and removing signs, as well as pasting stickers on posts around the town.
One sign on High Street seemed to argue against itself. The standard Covid-19 social distancing sign had been covered over with the message: “Only morons and idiots take the time to read notices.” I would argue that only morons and idiots deface signs that promote public safety.
Tim Gill, Mayor of Ludlow, told me this morning: “I am disgusted by this vandalism. Whoever is responsible is endangering public health.”
I agree. We have had a debate over how many Covid-19 signs we should have and where they might be placed in Ludlow. But it is wrong that signs are defaced, especially when the defacers seem to want to promote conspiracy theories arguing that Covid-19 is a “fraud pandemic”.
A fraud? Tell that to the families of the 371,000 people who have died around the world. Tell that those mourning the 50,000 people who have died in the UK.
Shropshire Council has been removing the guerrilla signage and replacing vandalised signs. The police are treating these acts as theft and vandalism.
Moving to the second story, young people in Knowbury have been busy making scarecrows. Several of these were removed overnight and moved to locations like the Linney and the Buttercross. I understand they have since been repatriated. I am sure it was joke but we don’t have much scope for this sort of joke now. When all this is over, we will have time to play practical jokes without increasing the risk of transmission. [See comments below for a clarification.]
Finally, in this post catching up with the oddities of Covid-19, there has been confusion over the signs banning parking in Events Square. This ban is overdue and has been put in place now to allow more social distanced space in the town centre. Unfortunately, the signs are ambiguous. They were intended to convey the message that no parking is now allowed. Civil enforcement officers have begun to enforce the restriction issuing penalty charge notices today. But how do you read the sign above?