Google analysis reveals just whether Lancashire is still getting the stay at home message

Lancashire residents have continued to successfully shun most shops under lockdown, Google data shows – but are still lingering in parks and green spaces.

Empty heart of Preston city centre
Empty heart of Preston city centre

The latest weekly Google report shows a second successive rise in shopping visits across the UK, after First Secretary Dominic Raab warned any change to social distancing rules would risk a second peak of the coronavirus.

The tech giant 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, and parks and green spaces.

The third of its reports, which charts the six weeks up to April 11, shows retail in Lancashire has seen the biggest drop-off in activity across the five non-residential categories – 79 per cent below normal levels.

However, this is a smaller drop than the UK average, with footfall down 81 per cent.

But when it comes to parks and green spaces, footfall in Lancashire has now only fallen by 21 per cent.

That was compared to 17 per cent below usual levels the previous week, following an initial drop of 39 per cent.

All three reports are compared against a five-week period between January 3 and February 6, to establish a normal baseline.

However, with people allowed out to exercise once a day, the Communities Secretary has urged local authorities not to close parks, after some councils moved to shut their gates due to the congregation of large groups of people.

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Speaking at a daily press conference from Number 10, Robert Jenrick said: “While the virus does not discriminate, we know that the lockdown is much harder for people who don’t have a lot of living space, who don’t have a garden, and who don’t have anywhere for their children to run around.

“That’s why I have made it clear to councils that all parks must remain open.

“For the health of the nation, people should be able to safely enjoy fresh air and green space.”

Dominic Raab, continuing to stand in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said the UK has not reduced the rate of infection of Covid-19 enough to allow strict measures to be lifted.

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He said: “The very clear advice we have received is that any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus.

“That would threaten a second peak of the virus, and substantially increase the number of deaths. It would undo the progress made to date, and as a result, would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures.”

Mr Raab said there was “light at the end of the tunnel” but right now we are at a “delicate and dangerous stage of this pandemic” and urged UK citizens to be patient a while longer.

The full results for Lancashire are:

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Trips to retail and recreation establishments had been 81 per cent below normal, but have since increased to 79 per cent

Footfall in grocery stores and pharmacies had been 41 per cent below normal, but have since increased to 30 per cent

Workplaces had seen a 50 per cent drop, and have since further decreased to 54 per cent

Visits to parks and green spaces had been 17 per cent below average, and are now 21 per cent below

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Visits to public transport stations had been 65 per cent below average, but have since increased to 64 per cent