Coronavirus: Yorkshire street sets up code system to alert neighbours if anyone needs help

But some say telephone may be more effective communication tool

Colin Drury
Friday 20 March 2020 12:46 GMT
Coronavirus communication: card in a window in Ripon
Coronavirus communication: card in a window in Ripon (Twitter / @bethanycrompto2)

In the battle against coronavirus, technology has often proved invaluable: online food shopping, video calls and the latest streaming services have all been used to help people cope with self-isolation.

In Ripon, however, something rather more rudimentary is being deployed in one neighbourhood: coloured card notes.

Elderly residents in the North Yorkshire town are placing the red and green slips in their windows to tell others if they need help.

Green means those inside are fine. Red means they require some sort of assistance, be that medication, shopping or transportation.

The initiative was devised by a resident who handed out the card and letters detailing what to do. It was highlighted on social media by Twitter user Beth Crompton who now lives in London but originally comes from the town.

“This is amazing,” she wrote.

And, as is the way of these things, the post soon went viral, receiving almost 100,000 likes by Friday morning.

“A little bit of ingenuity can move mountains,” said one respondent. “Great idea,” noted another.

Not everyone, however, was enamoured by the initiative.

Some, reasonably enough, suggested that such a communication system could actually advertise the vulnerability and isolation of those inside. Others pointed out that, as far as communication tools go, even more amazing than card in a window was the telephone – a bit of kit invented in the 19th century and understood by even the most technophobe among us.

“If you need help, use a phone,” wrote one Twitter-user. “Displaying this in window sets up those who are already at a disadvantage to be vandalized, robbed, etc. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Its a virus, not radiation fallout.”

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