Fewer travel to work following new virus guidance

Fewer people in Northumberland went into the office following Government guidance on home-working, new figures suggest.

Work from home call sees office activity fall
Work from home call sees office activity fall

Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced new coronavirus restrictions following the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus – including advising those who can work from home to do so – from Monday, December 13.

Google – which uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement – has produced figures which show activity in workplaces in Northumberland fell slightly after the announcement.

In the working week to December 17, 23% fewer people went to a workplace compared to the baseline figure – down from 22.6% in the five days to December 10.

When the new guidance was issued, the Confederation of British Industry said the Government was right to advise those who can work from home to do so – but that this should be reversed as soon as it is safe.

A CBI spokesman said home-working brings significant economic cost by restricting trade for some businesses and impacting mental health.

The Google figures also suggest that, nationally, people were using public transport less after December 13

Average activity at bus and trains stations was 33.2% below normal in the week to December 17 – and 22.6% below normal in Northumberland.

A Government spokesman said: “We’ve supported people’s jobs and incomes throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so.

“We will continue to look closely at all emerging evidence and will keep our measures under review as we learn more about this variant.”