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New data shows Bucks has been sticking to lockdown measures

Visits to parks, shopping centres and transport hubs have all been well below normal levels.

Published by Dan Gooding at 1:33pm 14th May 2020. 3-minute read.

New data shows Bucks has been sticking to lockdown measures

Buckinghamshire's residents were heading to parks even less as the mandatory lockdown continued, figures from Google suggest.

The tech giant's latest weekly report shows people across the UK ventured out to parks, beaches and other public areas less last week – with footfall remaining significantly below normal levels.

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.

Aylesbury Lockdown - King's Head
The King's Head courtyard would normally be busy on a sunny day

The weekly report shows a decrease in activity within Buckinghamshire's parks during the week to May 2, compared to the week before – suggesting people are hanging out in public green spaces less regularly, or for shorter periods of time.

Over the seven days, time spent in parks was 13% lower than during a five-week baseline period at the start of the year.

The week before, it had been 8% higher than usual levels.

In other locations in Buckinghamshire:

  • Visits to public transport hubs were 66% down on usual levels
  • Shopping centres and food outlets saw 73% less traffic than normal
  • Workplaces were 64% quieter than usual
  • Food shops and pharmacies saw 32% less traffic
  • People spent 26% more time at home than usual
Aylesbury Lockdown - Bus Station
Aylesbury Bus Station has been much quieter than usual

In the first report, which covered the week to March 29 when the lockdown came into effect, park activity was down 14%.

The data suggests that the population in Buckinghamshire are staying away from green spaces less successfully than in other locations across the UK. Nationally, people were spending 22% less time than usual in parks last week.

This week, the Government relaxed its advice to people to stay at home, changing its messaging to "stay alert, control the virus, save lives" – though Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have kept the original, stronger messaging.

Health experts have expressed concern that the new slogan lacks clarity and may lead to an increase in "risky behaviour" from the public.

Aylesbury Lockdown - Friars Square 2
Friars Square has been shut throughout the lockdown

People unable to work from home – such as those in construction and manufacturing – will be "actively encouraged to go to work", though use of public transport should still be limited.

People will also be allowed to spend more time outdoors for leisure purposes, as long as they are socially distanced from others.

It comes more than seven weeks after the Prime Minister imposed the lockdown on March 23, 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.

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