Cell phone tracking data collected by Google shows that fewer people were left at home on the third lockout compared to the first comeback in March.
Google uses location data collected from people’s phones to help public health bosses determine how strict the country is adhering to lockdown rules.
The data are used to identify trends in people’s movement at home, retail and recreation establishments, markets, pharmacies, public transport hubs, parks and green spaces.
By comparing these data with data before the outbreak hit the UK in February 2020, you can see an increase or decrease in time spent in these places.
On the first Friday of each of the three British lockdowns, we looked at the Suffolk figures to see how many people stick to the rules.
Data show a drop in movement at most locations during the three crashes in March, November and January.
The obvious exception is time at home, with people in Suffolk spending 25% more time at home on the first lockdown than before.
In November, when restrictions were much less stringent and schools remained open, the increase in lockdown was lower and dropped to 15%.
The third wave of restrictions, implemented on January 6, saw a 21% increase in people staying at home compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is 4% lower than the initial lockout, although the stay-at-home message remains the same.
This increase may be due to the number of people continuing to go to work – with far more key worker lists than the initial lockdown and other occupations such as real estate agents were allowed to continue normally when social distancing measures were implemented.
Compared to March, there are more retail sites like garden centers and daycare centers remain open for preschoolers, which could explain the increase in time spent at work.
In this third lockout, more people tend to visit supermarkets and pharmacies, although levels are much lower than normal.
The number of visitors to these core stores dropped to -23% on the first Friday of this year’s lockdown, while at the start of the March lockdown -29% -6% difference.
Retail and recreation visits in Suffolk run low as well as public transport trips.
Workplace visits are also well below normal levels, as many businesses continue to work from home.
During the initial crash, this dropped to -61% when all offices were closed. This increased to -32% after people returned to work in November and now dropped to -44%.
The data comes from Google account users who have enabled the location history service. Statistics are based on a basic value for that day of the week. The basis used is the average of the corresponding day of the week over the five-week period from January 3 to February 6, 2020.