Northumberland workers shunned offices before new lockdown

People in the Northumberland began avoiding workplaces towards the end of October as the second wave of Covid-19 took hold, new figures suggest.

By Katie Williams,
Thursday, 5th November 2020, 1:28 pm
More people are shunning workplaces
More people are shunning workplaces

Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement in different areas of their daily lives - including where they work.

The data shows that workplace activity in Northumberland in the week to October 30 – the last full working one before the second lockdown – was 41% lower than during a five-week baseline period at the start of the year.

This indicate few people were going to workplaces than the previous week when the figure was 35% below the normal level.

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Movement in workplaces nationally was 44% below normal in the week to October 30.

The figures follow people being advised to work from home wherever possible in October as the pandemic began to grip the UK once more and pre-date Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement of a second national lockdown.

The Institute of Directors warns recent restrictions to limit the spread of the virus mean many UK businesses will remain vulnerable without more help.

Tej Parikh, its chief economist, said restrictions had already dampened consumer spending and hit supply chains.

He added: “Many businesses are still carrying wounds from the first lockdown and remain vulnerable to harsher measures, particularly without further government support.

“The challenging conditions for firms will also leave some workers anxious about what may lie ahead in the winter months, with many households likely to try building up precautionary savings."