Coronavirus: Derbyshire one of the best counties for getting social distancing right

Derbyshire has seen one of the sharpest ​drops in visits to shops in the UK during the coronavirus lockdown, data from Google suggests.

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 1:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th April 2020, 2:01 pm
Town centres have been almost deserted since lockdown was imposed

NHS England’s medical director said people are continuing to follow government guidance to stay at home but warned now is not the time to get complacent.

Google's figures, which use location data to chart trends in people's movement, show footfall at retail and recreation establishments fell by 86 per cent in Derbyshire in the six weeks to the end of March compared to two months earlier.

Only a small number of places have witnessed a bigger drop-off, with footfall down an average of 85 per cent across the UK when compared to a previous five-week period at the start of the year.

The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) said many successful businesses were fighting for survival, predicting that consumers’ increased use of online shopping is a trend that is here to stay.

Andrew Goodacre, BIRA chief executive, warned shopping habits have already been formed and internet sales will continue to trump the High Street.

​Google's figures also show a 15 per cent rise in activity in places of residence in Derbyshire compared to a 55 per cent reduction in places of work, as more people work from home.

​Visits to public transport hubs were also down by 66 per cent – but this was below the UK average of 75 per cent.

Derbyshire also saw 43 per cent less footfall at groceries and ​pharmacies, and 55 per cent less in parks and green spaces.

Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, said: “We are continuing to see people adhering to government policy – particularly on public transport.

“The sun might be out, but that doesn’t mean you should be out.

“We all need to make sure we resist the temptation, whatever the weather.

“This is not the time to be complacent and to take our foot off the pedal, we need to continue to comply with the instructions.”

Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Using anonymous data like this from Google will help improve our understanding of the impact social distancing measures are having.”