The COVID-19 creativity continues.
Timbergrove Manor resident Daragh Carter has drawn the attention and approval of neighbors with a creative yard display intended to enforce the concept of social distancing.
A dapper dummy stands in the middle of a 6-foot radius drawn around him, with a sign inviting people to properly practice the current concept of what is appropriate physical space. The guideline has been put into place in Houston and beyond as the world tries to slow the spread of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus.
Carter said the idea for the display just popped into his head.
“Social distancing in response to the COVID-19 threat is a very serious matter, but I wanted to present it in a way that might make people smile, and that they’d remember and perhaps share,” he said.
Gaye Hablinski wrote on the neighborhood’s Facebook page, “I love it. Thanks for keeping us honest.”
Carter said he already had the mannequin, which he bought at a yard sale, “largely to prank my wife by installing it as art in our backyard.”
With the help of his 11-year-old child who aided in the measurement of a proper 6-foot radius for the circle around the mannequin, the project took Carter about 20 minutes to create.
He said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People (stop) their car to snap a photo, (or I get a) thumbs up from people out for a walk to kill time,” Carter said. “Someone shared the photo of the Houston Subreddit, and the comments are generally favorable.”
The comments on Reddit also reflect the anxiety that many are feeling.
“I told a lady waiting behind me in line at Kroger to step back and give me some space for her safety and everyone looked at me like I was crazy,” a commenter wrote. “She was literally so close I could feel her breath on my neck. That same lady continued to follow me around the store and berate me like it’s some kind of joke.”
In addition to the social distancing that already was being promoted, a stay-at-home, work-safe order was issued Tuesday morning by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. The order, which allows only essential businesses to operate and forces people to stay home except for essential reasons, takes effect at midnight and lasts through April 3.