Revealed – Google data shows where people in Suffolk have been during lockdown
PUBLISHED: 06:10 07 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:39 07 June 2020
People living in Suffolk seized the opportunity to head to parks and open spaces when lockdown rules eased – with visits soaring by 137% above normal levels for this time of year.
Google is using location data gathered from people’s phones to help public health bosses determine how closely the country is sticking to lockdown rules.
The company’s latest report, published this week, includes data up to May 29.
It reveals the number of people visiting parks and open spaces on the May 25 Bank Holiday – a few days after Boris Johnson lifted travel restrictions for daily exercise and allowed people to sit in parks and visit beaches – went up by a huge 136% above normal levels across the UK, and 137% in Suffolk.
It was also the Monday after allegations surfaced about the PM’s adviser Dominic Cummings breaking lockdown rules, which sparked outrage and led to Suffolk MPs receiving hundreds of emails on the matter.
Mr Cummings refused to resign, with Durham Police confirming it was “likely” he breached the rules although they are taking no further action.
The senior adviser defended his 260-mile trip and subsequent drive to Barnard Castle.
MORE: Angry constituents send MPs hundreds of letters about Cummings’ lockdown trip
In recent weeks, the number of people venturing out to shops has crept slightly closer to normal levels, but is still far below what would be expected at this time of year (56% lower in Suffolk on May 29).
Trips to supermarkets for groceries and visits to pharmacies had plummeted by 90% in Suffolk and 89% across the UK over the Easter weekend.
But throughout most of May, visits have increased – and were down by just 12% on the average in Suffolk on Friday, May 29.
Fewer people than ever before are visiting transport hubs in the UK – with the national data accounting for major cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham.
MORE: Where you can be tested for coronavirus in Suffolk and Essex next week
Suffolk has fewer railway stations and its transport hubs are on a smaller scale than some metropolitan areas.
This could account for visits to its transport hubs falling by 30% on usual levels on May 29, compared with 55% nationwide.
Movements around workplaces have fluctuated in recent weeks in both Suffolk and across the UK, which could indicate people are working at home a few days a week, and going into offices only sporadically.
May 24 saw visits draw closest to normal levels since the beginning of lockdown, with trips to workplaces down by a third.
MORE: Catch up with the latest coronavirus news in your area
Meanwhile, it appears people in Suffolk adhered closely to the Government’s lockdown rules to ‘stay at home’ at the start of lockdown – particularly over the Easter weekend, with movements around residential areas up 30% on usual levels on Good Friday.
This has fallen slightly in recent weeks as more people venture outside now certain lockdown rules have eased.
As of Friday May 29, tracking data indicates movements in residential areas were 20% above normal levels.
The full report, compiled using data from Google which users can opt in or out of, can be found here.