Signs of normal life resuming in Bedford, according to Google data
Are you looking forward to the lifting of restrictions?
Life is slowly returning to normal in Bedford data suggests, despite the coronavirus restrictions still in place.
Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement in different parts of their daily lives.
It compares footfall in five areas outside of the home – retail and recreation, supermarkets and pharmacies, parks, public transport and workplaces – to a five week-baseline period recorded before the Covid-19 crisis.
In Bedford, average activity across these categories was just 18 per cent below normal levels in the week to June 6 – though complete data was only available for four of these categories.
This was up significantly from 40 per cent below in the week beginning January 4, when the UK was plunged into its third national lockdown.
Google data for the week ending June 6 in Bedford shows:
Activity in retail and recreation establishments was 12 per cent below normal levels
In supermarkets and grocery stores, it was one per cent below usual
Activity in workplaces was 32 per cent below pre-pandemic measurements
And it was 45 per cent below the baseline on public transport
The Prime Minister pushed back the end of England’s coronavirus restrictions to July 19 due to concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.
Experts feared going ahead with step four on June 21 as planned could lead to hospital admissions on the scale of the first wave of Covid-19, heaping unsustainable pressure on the health service.
Limits on numbers for sports events, pubs and cinemas will therefore remain in place, nightclubs will stay shuttered and people will be asked to continue working from home where possible.
Mr Johnson left open the option of ending restrictions on July 5 if the data proves drastically better than expected, but conceded “let’s be realistic, probably more likely four weeks”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the delay was a direct result of the Government's failure to secure the UK's borders from the Delta variant.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir Keir said: “We all want these restrictions to be over, for our economy to be open, for businesses to thrive – but the Prime Minister’s indecision at the borders has blown it.”