Furious residents in Kent complained to the council when they spotted parking wardens issuing fines as normal during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Two wardens were seen “sweeping” through a high street in Tenterden, Kent, which one eyewitness described as “abhorrent”.
The council wardens are now completing “community duties” and will only punish "significant" parking violations after a row erupted.
Town councillor Mike Carter, who spotted the wardens, said: “Tenterden looked eerie, like a ghost town and drivers of the few cars parked there were probably picking up shopping or prescriptions.
“It's a disgrace that they were issuing fines when we are dealing with the coronavirus as you don't know what connotations it is having for people's lives.
"They may have lost their jobs or be caring for someone who is ill."
Paul Webster was also outraged after seeing cars being ticketed on Saturday evening.
Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice
He said he was "flabbergasted" to see wardens at work when key workers are all “stepping up” during a period of national emergency, and called for fines to be waived from last Friday, when the government ordered all bars, cafes, shops and restaurants to close.
He added that he was not attacking the parking inspectors, only the council's inappropriate allocation of council resources in “unprecedented” times.
Ashford Borough Council has now allocated traffic wardens to community duties during the coronavirus emergency.
The wardens will continue to punish significant parking violations, but council chiefs have now dropped standard fining procedures.
One of the wardens’ new tasks will be to support Ashford Lifeline, a service connecting vulnerable residents to medical help, by pressing a button that connects them to an adviser.
UK lockdown: the dos and don’ts
A council spokesperson said: “We can advise that as of March 23 our civic enforcement officers will primarily be working on duties essential to supporting community services rather than on parking duties.
"They are still dealing with significant parking incidents which are reported to the council, for example to ensure free flow of traffic for emergency vehicles, to respond to reports of dangerous parking and protecting parking provision for disabled and blue badge holders."
The authority will also now allow resident permit holders to park for free in council car parks to free up congested residential streets, which are now crammed with cars with home-workers’ cars.