Google data shows how well South Yorkshire is following coronavirus stay at home order - and how we compare with rest of the UK

The Government has ordered people to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but it would appear those in some areas are better at complying with the lockdown restrictions than others.

Thursday, 16th April 2020, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 12:10 pm

In South Yorkshire, police have dished out more than 100 fines to those caught flouting the rules but have praised the majority of people for sticking to them, while photos showing crowds gathering in certain neighbourhoods have been widely shared.

But how does the region compare with the rest of the country? Well, Google has been tracking our movements and shared the data to indicate how well people are complying – and this is what it found.

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Google's data suggest the amount of people visiting parks in South Yorkshire during the coronavirus lockdown has fallen by less than elsewhere in the UK

According to its latest COVID-19 Community Mobility Report, the use of retail and recreation facilities in South Yorkshire, including restaurants, cafes, libraries and cinemas, is down by 81 per cent compared to the ‘baseline’ figure – exactly the same percentage fall as nationally – which is hardly surprising as all these places should be closed, though some are operating takeaway services.

Grocery and pharmacy visits are down by 29 per cent in South Yorkshire, compared with 32 per cent nationally, as more people order online or cut down their number of shopping trips.

Use of ‘transit stations’ like railway stations and bus interchanges, is down by 66 per cent in South Yorkshire, compared with 70 per cent nationally, while the time spent at the ‘workplace’ has dropped by 55 per cent in South Yorkshire and 57 per cent nationally.

The data for South Yorkshire from Google's latest COVID-19 Community Mobility Report (pic: Google)

We’re spending much longer at home, as you would expect, with ‘residential’ mobility up by 18 per cent in South Yorkshire and 19 per cent in the UK overall.

The biggest difference between South Yorkshire and the rest of the UK is when it comes to the use of parks, which is down by 27 per cent here but 37 per cent nationally, perhaps suggesting we’re more likely than people elsewhere in the country to take our daily exercise in the park.

Google says the figures have been prepared to help readers, including public health officials, understand how people are responding to social distancing measures introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the world.

It warns against using the figures to compare different countries or regions with differing characteristics, like rural areas and urban ones, as it says the accuracy of the data varies from place to place.

The statistics also don’t take into account factors like the proportion of key workers living in different areas who still need to travel to work.

The baseline data for visits and lengths of stay at different places was taken from January 3 – February 6 and the latest figures, published on Wednesday, April 15, run up to Saturday, April 11.

Google says its reports are based on the same ‘aggregated and anonymised’ data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps, meaning no personal information is shared.