Mobile phone analysis reveals people in Lancashire are heading back to work

Lancashire's residents spent more time in workplaces last week, figures from Google suggest.

Saturday, 23rd May 2020, 3:45 pm
Google data reveals shows an increase in activity at Lancashire's places of work Image by SnapwireSnaps from Pixabay

The data, for the week to May 16, covers the first period in which lockdown restrictions started to be eased in England.

Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement in the home, retail and recreation establishments, grocery stores and pharmacies, public transport hubs, workplaces, and parks and green spaces.

The weekly report shows an increase in activity at Lancashire's places of work during the week to May 16, compared to the week before – suggesting people are returning to the usual locations of their jobs.

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Over the seven days, time spent in workplaces was 51 per cent lower than during a five-week baseline period at the start of the year.

The week before, it had been 55 per cent lower than usual levels.

In the first report, which covered the week to March 29 when the lockdown came into effect, workplace activity was down 53 per cent.

The data suggests that the population in Lancashire is managing to stay away from offices and factories less successfully than in other locations across the UK. Nationally, people were spending 56 per cent less time than usual in workplaces last week.

During the week to May 16 the first measures to ease England's lockdown were brought in, as people were encouraged to return to workplaces if they could not work from home. They were also allowed to stay outdoors in public places, as long as social distancing measures were maintained.

The nationwide lockdown was implemented on March 23, with the Prime Minister telling people to stay home and only leave for “very limited” and essential purposes.

These included shopping for basic necessities, once-a-day exercise, medical needs and travelling to work, but only when it could not be done from home.

Meanwhile, four in 10 adults in Great Britain felt unsafe when going outside after the Government’s “stay at home” guidance was relaxed, official figures suggest.

The latest Office for National Statistics polling showed 41 per cent felt unsafe or very unsafe due to the coronavirus, rising to 54 per cent of those with an underlying health condition.

Despite the fears, around one in four adults said they had visited a park or green space over the past seven days, a sixth of whom did so to meet friends or family outside their immediate household.

The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey on the social impacts of Covid-19 was conducted on 995 adults in Great Britain between May 14 and 17.

In other locations in Lancashire:

Visits to public transport hubs were 52 per cent down on usual levels

Shopping centres and food outlets saw 66 per cent less traffic than normal

Visits to parks, beaches and other public areas were 34 per cent up

Food shops and pharmacies saw 21 per cent less traffic

People spent 19 per cent more time at home than usual