Revealed: Google shows just where in Lancashire people are heading for lockdown exercise

Analysis by tech giant Google has revealed where people from Lancashire are going to carry out their daily exercise.

Friday, 17th April 2020, 5:00 pm
People in Lancashire have been tempted back into parks despite the continuing lockdown

People in the county have been tempted back into parks despite the continuing lockdown, data from Google suggests – ​but visits are still below normal levels.

With national figures showing a similar rise in park visits, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, acting in place of Boris Johnson, urged the nation to continue to follow government advice on social distancing.

In the second report of its kind, Google used location data to chart trends in people's movement in the home, retail and recreation establishments, grocery stores and pharmacies, public transport hubs, and parks and green spaces.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In Lancashire, footfall increased in all five of the categories outside of the home in the six weeks to April 5 compared to the six weeks to March 29.

Both reports used the five-week period between January 3 and February 6 as a baseline to compare people’s movements against.

The biggest change was in parks and natural spaces, with politicians and police urging the public to only use outdoor spaces for exercise and not sunbathing or meeting friends.

Google's figures previously showed footfall had fallen by 39 per cent, but the latest data shows visits are now ​only down 17 per cent compared to usual.

Speaking after the publication of the second Google report, Dominic Raab said everyone who stayed home had helped protect the NHS and save lives, but that "we must keep going".

He added that the measures will have to stay in place until we have moved beyond the peak of cases, as it was too early to say conclusively if they had worked yet.

He said: "The most important thing right now is that people continue to follow the Government’s guidance until we’ve got the evidence that the virus is firmly under control.

"So that means please do stay at home, to protect our NHS and to save lives. After all the efforts that everyone’s made, after all the sacrifices so many people have made, let’s not ruin it now.

"Let’s not undo the gains we’ve made. Let’s not waste the sacrifices so many people have made.

"We mustn’t give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people and hurt our country. I know it’s tough going. But this is a team effort, and we’ll only defeat this virus for good if we all stay the course."

Across the UK, the Google data shows an increase in footfall in each category outside the home.

The biggest increase in movement was seen in parks where visits rose from 52 per cent below average to 29 per cent.

Speaking at another daily press conference, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis their own data analysis shows compliance levels in the public are very high.

He said: "We absolutely need to make sure that we keep the benefits of this going forward and we don’t take our foot off the pedal, we don’t become complacent."

The final weekend of data collection for this report saw good weather across many parts of the UK, with crowds congregating at popular outdoor places – including London's Brockwell Park and Brighton seafront.

The full results for Lancashire are:

Trips to retail and recreation establishments had been 84 per cent below normal, but have since increased to 81 per cent

​Visits to parks and green spaces had been 39 per cent below average, but have since increased to 17 per cent

Footfall in grocery stores and pharmacies had been 44 per cent below normal, but have since increased to 41 per cent

Public transport use, which had been 71 per cent below the baseline, has since increased to 65 per cent

Workplaces had seen a 52 per cent drop, but have since increased to 50 per cent