January 19, 2021

Coronavirus: Google data suggests park visits rose on weekend

Visits to parks increased last weekend, according to activity data from Google, but were still less common than usual.

The tech giant has released its second set of reports looking at activity in 131 countries during the pandemic.

Its UK report suggests far fewer people have been going out compared to life before lockdown, but visits to parks increased during last weekend’s warm weather.

There was also an increase in use of transport hubs and food stores.

Google has been collecting location data from people who have opted into Location History tracking. It is using this to produce reports that show how busy areas are compared to a period earlier in the year.

The data only shows people’s activity in aggregate and not specific individuals’ behaviours. But it does offer breakdowns for specific areas – in the case of the UK, on a county-by-county basis.

Data for two weeks ago had suggested visits to places such as parks, public beaches and gardens were down 52% compared to life before lockdown.

But last weekend, the figure was 29%.

There had been concerns that sunny weather would tempt people out, and a number of parks were closed last weekend.

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